This story was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of OneSpirit Magazine. Read the full magazine.
“The most generous people are those who give silently without hope of praise or reward. However, I recently witnessed a true act of generosity that touched my heart in such a way that I felt it deserved to be celebrated.”
This is how Candice Rhea, RN, nurse recruiter, began her Service Hero nomination for Delia De Los Reyes, clinical registry supervisor in the mobile resource unit. She had routinely seen how Delia went out of her way to help nurses who had just moved to the U.S. from the Philippines, Delia’s home country. But in this specific instance, Delia’s compassion and care changed the whole perspective of one new nurse who was feeling quite overwhelmed. For Candice, it was like seeing this nurse light up before her very eyes.
“I’ve known Delia a long time, but when we started recruiting nurses internationally, Delia became an integral part of that onboarding process,” says Candice. “To have a coworker that speaks their language and understands the unique challenge of coming from another country has been invaluable. It’s incredible to see the change in these women when we connect them with Delia.”
Delia had a winding road before coming here, first working in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Philadelphia before settling in Hot Springs. Much of that time, she was separated from her family. “The Philippine culture is very family oriented, and most women don’t leave home before they’re married,” says Delia. “It’s really a shock to be all alone in a foreign country. I completely understand how disorienting it is and want to help others through it.”
Why International Nurses?
We have found tremendous value in recruiting nurses from other countries. The shortage of RNs is nationwide, but particularly evident within Arkansas’s highly competitive market. We had to think bigger! While most of our international nurses come from the Philippines, other countries include Jamaica, Singapore and India. These nurses are extremely clinically qualified, highly engaged, and align perfectly with our ministry of providing excellent and compassionate care to our patients.
Going Above and Beyond
Since she came to the U.S. and then to CHI St. Vincent, Delia has served as a friendly face, a listening ear, and an emotional support for many nurses who have moved to the area with no other family or connections. She’s cooked traditional Philippine meals, invited nurses over for gatherings of friends, and helped with the many ordinary tasks needed to set up a home – like finding a good dentist, getting a driver’s license and where to get a haircut.
What Delia does is not part of the normal duties you’d expect from any coworker. But it’s her willingness to go above and beyond for others that earned her the Service Hero Award and the admiration of her fellow coworkers. “I enjoy helping these nurses make connections and feel welcome and included – and I love the relationships I’ve made,” says Delia. “They know they can come to me for questions and support, including anything inside and outside the hospital. We’re like a family.”
When asked about her motivation Delia doesn’t have a specific reason why she’s invested so much time in others, Delia simply said, “It’s my calling to help other people.”
“When I was recruited, I felt the same feelings these women are experiencing. I had no family around, and I didn’t know anyone or this area. I felt alone, and I want to help change that experience for other nurses,” says Delia. “These women are my friends, and that sisterly bond has made us all stronger.”