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International nurse appreciates diversity at Niagara Health

Posted May 16th, 2024

We are Niagara Health is a series of stories that celebrates the incredible people working and volunteering in our organization and how they make a difference in the lives of patients and coworkers every day.

Eugene Perez, a nurse with the Niagara Health's SRT.

Eugene Perez trained in his birth nation of the Philippines, worked in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and uses skills he learned the world over to care for Niagara Health patients.

For the past six years, Eugene Perez has put his nursing skills to use to care for Niagara Health patients.

They are skills he learned in his birth country of the Philippines. As an internationally trained nurse, Perez uses his unique perspective, as well as his education and training, to help patients. 

“Internationally trained nurses bring a wealth of diverse cultural and professional perspectives, enriching the overall healthcare environment and promoting cultural competency,” Perez says. “Internationally trained nurses bring skill and expertise to help fill crucial roles in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.   

Niagara Health recognized International Nurses Day on Sunday, May 12. 

Perez currently works as part of the Staffing Resource Team (SRT) at the Niagara Falls hospital. He provides staffing assistance and covers most nursing shortages at the hospital. 

“Being an SRT staff member allows me to work in various units. This role presents an opportunity to collaborate with diverse teams across the organization, contributing to skill development, and relationship building.,” Perez says.  

He first started working with Niagara Health at the Marotta Family Hospital Emergency Department in St. Catharines in 2018.  

“I’ve had the opportunity to experience and travel around the five hospital sites and I am privileged to get to know most of the staff and experience the diverse culture that Niagara Health has to offer,” he says. 

As a seasoned nurse who has practised in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, Perez explains that “there is no difference with regards to the nursing work done abroad and at Niagara Health; it is the scope of practice that varies slightly between countries."

Despite initial challenges in the credentialing process upon arriving in Canada a decade ago, Perez is pleased to see greater recognition for internationally trained nurses in healthcare today. He reflects on the evolving process, stating, "Internationally trained nurses are now more recognized in healthcare, and the credentialing process has become smoother." 

Natalie Ferraro, Interim Director of Nursing Practice at Niagara Health, also emphasized the significance of this recognition day, which is observed around the world.  

"As the Interim Director of Nursing Practice at Niagara Health, I've witnessed firsthand the invaluable contributions that internationally trained nurses bring to our organization," Ferraro says. "Their diverse backgrounds, unique skill sets, and unwavering dedication enrich our organization, fostering a culture of excellence. We deeply appreciate the immense value that internationally trained nurses bring to our team and the communities we serve."
About Nursing Week at Niagara Health 

Niagara Health celebrated Nursing Week from May 6-12, 2024 with a variety of internal festivities, including an awards ceremony that honoured individuals and teams demonstrating nursing excellence and outstanding contributions. To publicly recognize nurses across the Niagara region, Niagara Falls was illuminated blue on May 6 from 10:15 p.m.-10:30 p.m. and the City of Welland Bridge 13 was also illuminated blue from dusk until dawn on May 8. 

Niagara Health System