The Filipino Nursing Diaspora (FiND) Network in partnership with the College of Nursing, Visayas State University recently held a virtual meeting dubbed "Filipino Nursing Students Roundtable" with a diverse group of 12 students from 5 countries --USA, Australia, Qatar, Bahrain and the Philippines - to discuss their personal learning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dean Joel Rey Acob, roundtable convenor and moderator said, "this event provided a golden opportunity to galvanise and energise the Filipino nursing students, and would enable them to move forward in terms of professional collaboration."

Prof. Violeta Lopez, FiND President emphasized in her opening remarks "As the threat of COVID-19 spread across the world, everyone seemed to be at a loss as to how to continue about their daily life, and people were at different stages of adjusting to their new reality. Sharing students' experience builds solidarity among themselves and highlights their challenges to the wider community as they all work towards recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on society has created unprecedented learning opportunities for nursing students.

During the conversation, participants shared highlights based on their experiences during the pandemic. John Michael Glodoveza from Qatar who is the president of the nursing body shared "immense support coming from school authorities, partner healthcare organizations and government agencies." He noted that despite the challenges associated with the academic institution's response by transitioning to remote learning, many students still perceived a bright side.

On the other hand, Earl Gene Maturan from the Philippines missed the stress of the pressure "where you have to do your return demonstration with your clinical instructors and it's not present in the online class". He described this experience of feeling isolated, missing study groups, and an inability to ask questions to peers.

“This is obviously an unusual year. Our future nursing leaders are ready to lead. They just need training, honing of their skill sets and a chance. So this roundtable offers that opportunity, ”said Jerome Babate, executive director and co-convenor.  

Prof. Cindy Leigh, FiND's Director for Professional Development in her closing remarks said, "I look forward to your participation as young change champions and nurse leaders in our future interactions".

The FiND Network noted that future activities for the students may include a virtual conference and membership expansion drive.


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