MJ Gutierrez

The challenges and rewards of working in a nursing home

Working in a skilled care facility, also known as a nursing home, may not be the first choice of Filipino nurses who are looking for a better life in the U.S., but there are advantages to consider.

MJ Gutierrez says her nursing home experience provides excellent training to prepare her for hospital work in the future. Two years ago, MJ was not immediately qualified for hospital nursing since she did not have recent bedside experience. Choosing to work in a nursing home got her and her family to the U.S. faster and provided her with a good-paying job in a safe, affordable and friendly community. She says while the work is challenging, it has been rewarding and fulfilling.

MJ has worked at Forsyth Nursing & Rehab in Missouri since 2021 and finished her two-year contract, April 18. The facility cares for long-term geriatric patients and short-term patients needing rehabilitation to resume independent daily living.

“I’m in charge in the rehab where the patients usually stay a couple of weeks to regain their strength and abilities following surgery or other interventions,” MJ says. “The people that I’m working with now, they became my friends and my family. They take care of me like I’m related.”

MJ Gutierrez RN, BSN – Forsyth, Missouri

MJ says she enjoys the close-knit community where she and her husband, Ace, work. Ace is an RN in the Philippines and currently working as a Certified Nursing Assistant as he prepares to take the NCLEX exam. Meanwhile, MJ is learning and gaining experience to help her advance her career after her two-year contract expires.

“I have been trained well because my co-workers became my friends and taught me. They love answering questions – especially Tina, she’s like my work mom,” MJ says. “And if they see that you want to learn, they will give you time to learn.”

Nursing homes are a common choice many U.S. families make to provide care for their aging loved ones who are experiencing increasing health issues and loss of independence. Having a team of medical professionals uniquely equipped to manage the care needs of geriatric patients gives families peace of mind.

“The job itself is a reward because the residents see you as a friend – their go-to person that they can lean on whenever they have needs, problems or concerns. I really like where I am,” MJ says. “I think the most challenging part of my job is seeing the residents losing their memory. That’s hard.”

A large segment of the U.S. population is advancing in age and the demand for skilled nursing care is at an all-time high. Buddy Goldammer, president, LifePath Health Careers, says the demand is creating lucrative opportunities for Filipino nurses looking to immigrate to the U.S.

“Our clients love the Filipino nurses we send to them, and they are willing to pay a premium to get them on staff,” Buddy says. “Our job is to find talented, compassionate nurses and place them at a facility where they can thrive and be successful.”

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