Nurses recount transition from the Philippines

By Coshandra Dillard/
In 1972, Rebecca Taylor left the bustling Manila, Philippines, on a personal journey toward prosperity and independence.

The 22-year-old had just finished nursing school in her native land. It was cold and dreary that December day she landed in Dallas. In fact, the nurses and their escorts from East Texas Medical Center were stranded earlier in Los Angeles for three days because of a Texas-sized ice storm.

“Where we came from, it’s tropical so our leaves always stayed on the trees,” Mrs. Taylor said. “I came in December and I saw all of the trees without leaves. I said, ‘Oh my God, what have we gotten ourselves into? All the trees are dead.’ I’d never seen a tree without leaves before.”

This year, the 63-year-old celebrated more than 40 years of employment with ETMC. A registered nurse who now works in human resources, Mrs. Taylor is among the thousands of Filipino women who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s to create a better life.

But it didn’t come without a little culture shock. She was about 103 pounds and other girls weighed that much or less. Seeing Americans’ stature took her by surprise.

“When we got on American Airlines to come here to Dallas I said, ‘These big people. I mean, huge people with their cowboy hats. How are we going to take care of these people?'”

But she soon found out she could take good care of the people.


Find more like this: Nursing Stories

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