Francis Fernando is an Assistant Director of nursing and quality at NELFT and is a top ten finalist in the inaugural Aster Guardians Global Nurses Award, shortlisted from the initial 24,000 applications from 184 countries.
What is an Aster Guardian?
Aster Guardians Global Nursing Award was launched on 12 May 2021 (International Nurses Day), with the goal to recognise the phenomenal contribution of nurses to the healthcare delivery system globally.
Filipino nurses receive recognition
Francis is a Filipino nurse who joined NELFT in early 2022. Using his voice and medical credentials, he started the Filipino Nurses Association in the UK. The association highlighted the high number of deaths of Filipino nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and pushed decision-makers to act. His lobbying resulted in the provision of PPE kits for frontline employees and a specialised helpline for Filipinos.
He also founded the National Head of the Nursing & Midwifery Network to address low levels of representation that Filipino nurses have in the NHS, despite forming the majority of foreign nurses. He believed they had greater leading potential and could help make a bigger difference in patient care.
His goal is to, one day, have a Filipino Chief Nurse in the UK.
The winner will receive £195,000 ($250,000) with the nine other finalists recognised with monetary prizes and awards.
If Francis wins, he has five criteria on how he will allocate the money:
- Donate to international nursing and midwifery organisations in the UK
- Support a children’s charity in Kenya
- Start a scholarship foundation in the Philippines for students studying for a nursing degree – to be named after his maternal grandfather
- Share with the nine finalists
- Volunteer as a nurse in Poland to support Ukrainian nurses
Asked about the five criteria if he doesn’t win, Francis said:
“I intend to carry out four of the five of my goals, obviously I won’t be able to share the winnings. It will take longer to achieve some of them, but there’s no reason to give up on making them a reality.”
And what about joining NELFT, Francis said:
“There is a good culture here, more people are compassionate and understanding – it is the responsibility of everyone to support each other. I see strong work ethics and colleagues going out of their way to assist others when they can.”
What does his family think of this accolade:
“They are still in shock and very proud that I have made it this far into the process and to have accomplished all the goals along the way in my nursing career. Both my sons are following my footsteps into the medical profession, which makes me feel very proud of them.”
Wellington Makala, NELFT Chief Nurse says of Francis’ shortlisting:
“In appointing Francis, I was aware of his dedication to nursing and midwifery, and also to the Philippine nursing community. Regardless of the outcome, I am very proud to be working with an individual who has inspired and aspires to do great things within his career.”
Voting is open until Friday 6 May: Home | Aster Global Nursing Award (asterguardians.com)
For further information and to read the entry from Francis, go to: www.asterguardians.com