Healing hands across the big blue sea

dr. jose predencio jr.

Doctor Jose Prudencio, Jr., derives from a medical clan. His father is a general practitioner, and his mother, a pharmacist in the family owned clinic in Binalongan, Pangasinan. One of his brothers, and two sisters are also M.D.s. He, himself, has been a successful urologist in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he established his practice about a decade and a half ago. In keeping with family tradition, he married a pediatrician with whom he has three daughters. Popular in both Philippine expatriate and mainstream American communities, he enjoys respect and recognition from both worlds. But he is so much more than just biographical data… he is a healer.

Partly to repay a moral debt he feels to countries that contributed to his success, and partly, to vouchsafe his transition (He is only 50) to another field when he can no longer practice medicine, he organized American Nursing International with Dr. Cary Cummings III, a medical colleague, with the objective to relieve the impending nursing shortage looming in The US, and at the same time, provide opportunities for Asian health care providers unable to find positions in their fields in their native land.

Nurses have been forced to take jobs as tutors, maids or housekeepers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and The Middle East. By giving them access to American hospitals, clinics, and human resources agencies, they are also provided with valuable experience and advanced training, unavailable at home.

Because of stringent requirements of health care systems in advanced countries, such recruitments, which skim the cream of the crop, could be criticized for raiding talent which are sorely needed endemically, but a shortage of openings in their chosen careers would similarly discourage people from sustaining the complicated training essential in this highly specialized field.

Overseas, they have better earnings, a large fraction of which is remitted home, and many usually return, as the cultural bonds are often too strong. Employment recruitment has been tarnished, sometimes unfairly, in The Philippines. Indeed, numerous scams are regularly reported in the newspapers. But most are honest.

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Common sense can uncover red flags.

Even well-meaning recruiters who are undercapitalized, and bite off more than they can chew, can leave clients, job applicants and employer-clients, at a disadvantage, negotiating exploitive contracts, overlooking safeguards that insure compliance with contracts, or proper screening to ascertain qualifications, or investigating employers for past abuse, working conditions, or ethical standards. They seem primarily concerned with collecting fees up front.

Dr. Prudencio prepared his financial cushion from his own savings before engaging into the venture. With knowledgeable staff assembled from The Philippines, and contacts made during his long medical practice. To protect both job applicant and employer, he does not collect money in advance. Their only outlay of funds for the candidates would be for certification tests and licenses, which they would have to pay anyway. The employer pays for transportation, housing, and living expenses until the employee is settled into a viable routine.

At present, ANI handles a few transactions at a time. That way, growth would be gradual and easily monitored.

Dr. Prudencio is a graduate of RM University in Quezon City. He did his rural service in Mountain Province to comply with his accreditation in The Philippines. He migrated to The US in 1978 to take his residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, after which he accepted a position as a junior partner at The Suarez Urology Clinic in Lebanon, Pennsylvania until he was confident enough to practice on his own in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which prospered because of his exceptional medical skill.

jose at harrisburg urology clinicWith his outgoing personality, he was socially active throughout the US, attending fraternal medical seminars, where he met hospital administrators, owners of private clinics, and human resources executives.

He is an officer of The Philippine-American Friendship Association, in his hometown, Harrisburg, keeping touch with the pulse of his community. He is equally at home in The US as he is in The Philippines, one reason his new enterprise is promising, and likely to produce mutual benefits for people in his birthplace and his adopted country. He is a credit to both.

There are US “headhunters” engaged in the same hunt for qualified health care workers. Regulated by American Federal Agencies, they too meet a high standard of professionalism in their placements, but unlike Dr. Prudencio, their access to talent is limited.

His medical education commenced in The Philippines. This gives him a distinct edge. He is familiar with the quality of Philippine educational institutions, good and poor. He has considerable local contacts, which include members of his family. His father in law, Santiago Olbes assists him in the screening and dispatching of eligible medical personnel.

Communication is a crucial aspect of health care. Evaluating applicants for fluency in English is overseen by The Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. Before the applicants are accepted, ANI must be convinced they could intelligibly express themselves in written and oral English. Hence, they are given comprehensive tests to determine whether they have sufficient language skills.

Once this hurdle is overcome, they undergo background investigations. When they pass their physical exams, and comply with all the documentation, ANI would assist them through the labyrinth of documents necessary for entry into The US. Academic degrees in their areas of expertise, certification, licenses, and practical experience.

A green card to legitimize their residency. Aside from nursing, ANI hopes to be able to place radiologists and pharmacists, once they have fortified their reputation as a reliable supplier of competent and dependable medical personnel.

ANI can be contacted at: [email protected]