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Success Stories

Read the stories of health-care workers originally from the Philippines who have built a successful career and life in Saskatchewan.  

1. Carmela - Registered Nurse at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital

Originally from the Philippines, Carmela has been a nurse in Saskatchewan, Canada for 14 years.

“I was interviewed in the Philippines by the [then] manager of Saskatoon Royal University Hospital’s Emergency Department and immediately got a job offer.”

She arrived in Saskatchewan in 2008 under a work permit and worked her way through the immigration process along with nursing credential programs and exams.

“When we arrived in the city of Saskatoon, we were greeted by the Filipino Community Association staff and volunteers. There was a schedule already, and they gave us the necessary assistance to settle in the community. The recruitment team also accompanied us, helped us open a bank account and get a cellphone, toured us around and led us to our designated housing.”

The Saskatchewan Health Authority provided a month of free housing to help Carmela get started.

“Saskatoon Royal University Hospital (RUH) was my first employer and they supported me from the beginning. When I first started, they organized classroom orientation and buddy shifts that made it easier for me to be comfortable in the unit.”

Carmela Estorco at work in front of emergency sign

Carmela started at RUH’s Emergency Department (ED) as an entry-level nurse. She then took additional training to work her way up to Trauma Nurse, Triage Nurse and then Charge Nurse. She later became one of the Clinical Coordinators in the ED.

“Currently, I am a Repatriation Coordinator in System Flow, but I still work in the ED. I love bedside and triaging people so I still pick up shifts to help out.”

“I have an employer who is very supportive and Saskatchewan people are very accommodating, helpful, kind”

“I have an employer who is very supportive and sees to it that we are equipped with the knowledge and skills to render the much needed health-care services to the people of Saskatchewan,” Carmela says. “The Saskatchewan people are very accommodating, helpful, kind and they appreciate us being here.”

Carmela Estorco at work wearing a mask

Carmela also became a Clinical Instructor for nursing students at the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan, and held classroom lectures for Licensed Practical Nurse students at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

“I decided to advance my education here in Saskatchewan by taking a Masters of Nursing Graduate course. I finished it in September 2018.”

Back in the Philippines, Carmela worked as an Emergency Registered Nurse, Clinical Instructor for Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) students, and Academic Coordinator at the same time.

“Since I was little, I’ve had the desire to help the needy ones. My Grandfather worked as a Red Cross volunteer, delivering blood to every Red Cross outpost. It opened my eyes in a family where helping is a must.

“My brother is also a Nurse in the United States; when he first started as a student, I saw how passionate he was. He told me stories about nursing, I read his textbooks and I found them very interesting. I followed in his footsteps and became a nurse myself.”

“I feel safe here and this is home away from home.”

I moved to Canada by myself in 2008, leaving my family behind, but after six months they followed me and we all reunited. My husband came with an open work permit, and my son and daughter with a student permit. We became permanent residents first and then got Canadian citizenship in 2015. We are so proud to be Canadian citizens.

Carmela Estorco and family

When asked what she would say to Filipino compatriots who are considering building a new life and health-care career in Saskatchewan, Carmela said she feels safe here and this is her home away from home. “We have Filipino stores, restaurants and a Filipino community that is always ready to help out with anything, especially for newcomers.”


2. Michael - Manager of Resident Care, Luther Special Care Home Saskatoon

Michael arrived in Saskatchewan in 2012 as an immigrant. This November will mark 10 years of being a health-care worker in the province.

“I felt like it was destiny that brought me to Saskatchewan. I met my beautiful wife here and started my own family.”

Originally from the Philippines where he was a Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife, he went on a job search shortly after relocating to Saskatchewan. He went to different long-term care homes, giving out his resumé in the hopes of being hired as a Continuing Care Aid (CCA). He received a call from Luther Special Care Home and was offered a CCA position.

“From November 2012, I worked as a CCA for about five months, until I got my Licensed Practical Nurse licence in early 2013 and started working for three different long-term care facilities.”

Michael Antiola at work sitting outside

“I was trained as a Registered Nurse back home, so I wanted to do that right at the beginning of my Canadian journey.”

Michael started his nursing journey in Saskatchewan in 2014 when he passed his Canadian Registered Nurse (RN) Exam. He worked his way through the licensing application and English requirements, was granted an RN licence and was able to start working as a Registered Nurse. This was also the year when he married the love of his life.

“I met my wife Nelie through a co-worker at a bible study. She is also a registered nurse and was part of the group of nurses hired in 2009 from the Philippines. She worked in two other communities before moving  to Saskatoon in 2012. We got married in 2014, the same year that I got my RN licence. We also bought our first house that year! We are blessed to have two boys: Matthew, 7, and Marcus, 4.”

Michael Antiola at work

“I always value excellence in whatever I do. I was educated and trained as a Registered Nurse back home, so I wanted to do that right at the beginning of my Canadian journey. I took all hardships and experiences I had along the way and made them my motivation to cross to the finish line.”

“When I first arrived in Saskatchewan in 2012, I lived modestly and that year was also my first encounter with Canadian winter. I only had one friend who was here, but he was very helpful to me early on. Since then, I have met and worked with many people who later on became my family.”

“Take a leap of faith and come live in Saskatchewan, the Land of Living Skies.”

Michael Antiola and family in snow

When asked what he would like to share with internationally trained health-care professionals who are interested in a life and career in Saskatchewan, Michael had these words of wisdom. “Take a leap of faith and come live in Saskatchewan, known to be the Land of the Living Skies. Take also with you the culture and life experiences that you have, as these will help you make it through the hard times and build a successful life in this land that I consider my home now.”


3. Phoebe - A nurse's journey to Canada

Phoebe's story is available on the Saskatchewan Health Authority website.

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