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Walking the Talk

“Whenever I get pangs of homesickness, I just remind myself why I am here,” intones Peter A. Orlino, a graduate of Foundation University, who now works as a nurse in Tennessee, USA. For a determined, focused individual like Orlino, his journey to the so-called Land of Milk and Honey is a realization of a long-time dream.

Graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2016, he was offered to be a clinical instructor in his alma mater, teaching medical-surgical nursing and pharmacology concepts. “It was a fulfilling experience to interact with students and evaluating how they perform in class and practical endeavors in the community and health institutions they are assigned,” he recalls.

His six-year stint at Foundation University afforded him the best preparation that he needed for far bigger, more daunting endeavors especially in a totally foreign land. According to Orlino, not that we differ among other workers abroad in giving utmost care to clients, but there is a particular touch that Filipinos manifest in the health care service.

“I think it is the work ethics that has been inculcated among Foundationites that set our graduates apart. The dedication and the passion to serve have radiated among my fellow alumni here and those I have met in other places,” Orlino enthuses.

As a student who has consistently been ranked salutatorian both in elementary and high school from Junob Elementary School and Junob National High School, respectively, he confesses to be “very focused on academics,” rarely engaging, if at all, in extra-curricular activities. “I usually eat at the cafeteria with my baon, the food prepared by my father, then I go to the library to study,” he describes. The only organizations that he joined were the Honor Society where he was a member and the Foundation University Association of Student Nurses where he served as vice-president on his last year in college.

Was it a difficult decision to leave his comfort zone for a life as an overseas worker?

Confessing to giving his decision some serious thinking, Orlino said it took some time for his documents for eventual employment to be completed. “It took me six years to process all my papers,” he shares, working at the same time at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital and managing to clinch his Master of Science in Nursing, Major in Advanced Adult Nursing at Saint Paul University Dumaguete in April 2020.

“The biggest adjustment that I had to make upon arriving in the US is that I had to do everything on my own. Back home, my father cooks, thus, I miss my home-cooked meals,” he laments. Moreover, he works night shift, which he found quite difficult because “I am not a night person.” To say that the work is back-breaking is an understatement, according to Orlino, as he reports to two health facilities for 12-14 hours distributed in three days a week.

“To say the least, it can be mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting working in the US, aside from getting used to the culture,” he expounds.

He is particularly grateful to his former teachers, colleagues, and former students at Foundation University as, true to the name of the institution, it is “where he built his foundation.”

When things get tough, he tells himself that “it’s not a bad life, it’s just a bad day.”

As Orlino turns 29 and being the youngest and only son in the family, he regards his family as his “core.”

He likewise prides in the fact that they are solid Foundationites as his mother, the former Maria Theresa Pinili, finished her Education degree at Foundation University, as well as his older sisters – Therese De Anne, now a registered nurse in Ireland for the past four years now, and Phyllis who finished Education and is connected with a private company in Cebu.

Short of sounding cliché-ish, Orlino articulates that life is about “moving forward” and as a working professional in a foreign country, he wishes to “make a difference in the lives of others.” Acknowledging that the glory is from and belongs to God, he certainly walks the talk as he fulfills his duties in his endearing mild-mannered, soft-spoken ways. (Cecile M. Genove)


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