Ever Lalin: Extra-ordinary Filipino nurse

By Susan G. de Leon

MANILA–‘Yobun’-futsu no firipin-jin kango-shi,’ it’s the Japanese translation of “extra-ordinary Filipino nurse,” a description that fits Ever Lalin, the only Pinoy passer in the Japan nursing examinations.

A native of Danglas, Abra, Ever belongs to the first batch of 98 nurses and caregivers who went to Japan in May last year under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) to undergo a six-month rigid and intensive language training and nursing review in preparation for the Japanese nursing licensure examination.

The exam included a proficiency test in “kanji,” Chinese characters that are a mindset away from those schooled in the Roman alphabet.

Ever admitted that she really had a hard time studying due to language barriers. Nevertheless, she never allowed such linguistic requirement to bring her aspirations down.

“I learned to love the language and to learn everything by heart. The training was hard, but I just thought that I have to pass not for myself but for the future of my children and family in the Philippines,” she shared in an interview posted at pinoy.com.

A month after she took the Japanese licensure exam on February 2010, Ever emerged as the lone Filipino passer among 254 foreign hopefuls who took the examination. It was her first and last take, which no Filipino had done in the past.

“Some Japanese in the training centers say that foreign nurses have only small chances of passing the licensure exam. Despite the discouragement, I challenged myself that I have to prove them wrong. I know that that Filipinos can make it to the top,” Ever attested.

Right after she got her Japanese nursing license, the Ashikaga Red Cross Hospital in Tochigi Prefecture in Tokyo, where she worked since 2009, handed her an upgraded appointment to the emergency room, reportedly a section of her choice.

Recently, the Philippine government through the Department of Labor & Employment recognized the remarkable feat of being the first and only Filipino, thus far, to pass the Japanese Nursing Licensure Examination by honoring Ever Lalin as the Woman OFW Achiever in 2011.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, together with Undersecretaries Danilo Cruz and Hans Cacdac and POEA administrator Carlos Cao Jr., welcomed Ever and her family in a simple awarding ceremony held at the DOLE building in Intramuros, Manila last week.

Baldoz commended Ever’s noteworthy achievement of passing the Japanese Nursing Licensure Examination. The labor chief personally conferred the award of distinction to the outstanding Filipina nurse in line with the Women’s Month Celebration in March.

“Ever Lalin made history being an exceptional woman achiever in migration. She had proven that Filipino nurses, and OFWs in general, are professionally competent and skilled as they join the world labor market,” Baldoz said.

Ever also received an overseas exit clearance (OEC) from POEA, which exempts her from the lengthy processing of the said clearance.

With high hopes of more passers in the next batch of Filipino nurses to be deployed in Japan in June 2011, Ever poses a challenge to them to showcase their medical proficiency and prove the top-notch quality of licensed Filipino nurses and medical practitioners in the international milieu.

“I know that other Filipino nurses can also do it. Determination, discipline, and love of the language will surely help them pass the exam. There is nothing impossible. We will all see each other in Japan,” Ever said.

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