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Menorah Medical Center
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Volunteer Spirit Leads Nurse to New Country, New Role

Menorah Medical Center January 23, 2013

Jonna Alferez, RN, BSN, formerly of the Philippines, volunteered and worked in a non-nursing role at Menorah Medical Center while she waited on her documents and Kansas Nursing License. Today she is a staff nurse on the med/tele unit at Menorah.

by Linda Friedel | Reprinted courtesy of KC Nursing News

Nursing seemed like a natural choice for Jonna Alferez while growing up in the Philippines.

“As I grew up it was nature and nurture,” Alferez, RN, BSN, Menorah Medical Center, said. “I want to be like the aunts.”

Most of Alferez’s aunts on her mother’s side of the family are nurses. She was impressed with her aunts’ vocation and wanted to follow the family profession, she said. Alferez earned her BSN in the Philippines where she worked for several hospitals over a year’s time, then looked beyond. She and many of her classmates found nursing jobs throughout the world, such as Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States, Alferez said. Nursing is a popular trend in the Philippines, but jobs are limited there she said. Six of her classmates, including Alferez, moved to the U.S. to seek nursing positions. Alferez settled in Kansas City and then waited. It took one year for all her documents, including her Kansas nursing license, to come to fruition.

“It’s becoming a trend back home,” Alferez said. “When you get to be a nurse, you can travel abroad. The pay is good.”

While Alferez waited for her visa and Kansas nursing license, she filled her days volunteering at Menorah Medical Center. She was anxious to work at the bedside. She assisted nurses, aides and patients and stocked medical supplies, cleaned sheets and transported patients. Alferez wanted to do more and hired on as a nutrition service associate where she prepared meal trays and delivered them to patients.

“I love taking care of people,” she said. “It is what I love doing.”

As Alferez volunteered and worked as a staff member, she began to feel at home with the hospital and connected with other nurses. Today she is an staff nurse on the med/tele unit, where she has been serving for a year. Alferez says she loves the challenge of helping patients in her specialty. It is a place where she learns something new every day, she said.

“It’s a stepping stone for ICU,” Alferez said. “I really want to be an ICU nurse. This a good experience for me. It’s a good start.”

Barb Miller, RN, BSN, director of tele/med, remembers meeting Alferez when the outgoing volunteer introduced herself as a nurse in waiting. Alferez wears a smile wherever she goes, Miller said.

“She was so outgoing,” Miller said. “I immediately liked her. She is an engaging person. Patients love her.”

Miller said Alferez showed determination when she began her time at Menorah as a volunteer and nutrition service associate. Alferez knows how to set goals and attain them, she said.

“She’s just so excited about her job and what she does,” Miller said. “So happy to do what she’s doing. Just a real delight to work with.”

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