Filipino nurses mark 30th year in Vienna

by Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Nov 22 2011 06:26 PM | Updated as of Nov 23 2011 02:26 AM

VIENNA, Austria – A group of Filipino nurses celebrated their 30th year anniversary in Vienna with a thanksgiving party at the Hilton Hotel Danube.

“It was on November 17, 1981 when we arrived in Vienna. We are all proud to be one of the groups of Filipino nurses working in Austria and we thank the Philippine and the Austrian government for their effort in giving us the opportunity to practice our profession here,” said organizer Alma Confessor.
Tess Jacobe said they are happy in Vienna although they miss their families and friends back home.
“We received a warm welcome from our colleagues in the health service and from our patients,” Jacobe said. 
Blezil Torres recalled the many difficulties they have encountered during their first few years working in Austria.
“We had difficulties in the language and we were homesick but we coped with all the obstacles that came on our way. Our group (of those who arrived in 1981) and colleagues and friends continue to keep in touch as part of a big family,” Torres said. 
Filipino priest Fr. Efren Javier praised the services of the nurses in the Austrian health sector in the past 30 years.
“The Filipino nurses were quickly appreciated for their gentle caring attitude and their joyful generosity to the patients. Their strong Catholic faith and family life is an inspiration to everyone,” Fr. Javier said.
Philippine Ambassador to Austria Lourdes Yparraguirre, who attended the event, commended the group for their philanthropic activities, not only in Austria, but also in the Philippines. The group has been supporting some charitable institutions in their home country. 
“From the small group of nurses from the Philippines more than three decades ago, the Filipino community today has grown into one with a potential to be an effective channel for enriching the cultural make-up of its adopted country, and deepening the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Austria. Thank you so much for the many years of valuable work in the Austrian health sector,” the ambassador said.
The memorable event was also a reunion for the nurses because they were able to meet friends who had gone on to work in other hospitals.
Filipino nurses first arrived in Austria in the early 1970s, and were among the first migrants from the Philippines. Today, Filipino nurses are among the most respected medical professionals in Austria. 
Majority of Filipinos in Austria are working as nurses and midwives in hospitals and nursing homes all over the country.