Julita Sotejo, a Filipina nurse, was studying abroad in the U.S. and Canada when World War II broke out in the Philippines. Unable to return home, she spent the next four years in North America creating a new and responsive training program for nurses in the Philippines, which she hoped would replace the American training model established when the U.S. colonized the Philippines in 1898. Sotejo’s aspiration was that this new curriculum would equip Filipina women with modern and culturally specific knowledge needed to help Filipinos recover from the war. However, she unintentionally helped to create a nurse migration apparatus which would give thousands of nurses the credentials to work and live abroad permanently, a development that she deeply criticized. Since the 1960’s, 150,000 Filipino nurses have migrated to the U.S, while at the same time the Philippines has had a labor shortage of 20,000 nurses. Although Filipino migrant nurses fill health shortages in the U.S., most citizens in their home country lack access to healthcare. This talk recovers Sotejo’s original purpose, which was to decolonize Filipino nursing and create a system that would make healthcare more accessible for all Filipinos.
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