Tebow CURE’s five founding nurses
By Marlene Bray
We’ve seen a lot of changes at Tebow CURE Hospital over the last few years. As patient numbers grew, we witnessed an increase in staff, the expansion of the third floor, and spiritual growth among our team members. When we opened our doors in November 2014, dozens of staff members were anxious to serve our first patients, including over 25 nurses who would serve in the ward and operating room.
Several of these staff members are still working at CURE, but over time things change, and people move on. The nursing staff contains five of the original members of our first group of nurses, and they provide the stability, experience, and consistency that is so important in unifying an ever-transitioning team. We recently sat down with this small, diverse group, and got the opportunity to find out what keeps them coming to Tebow CURE Hospital every day with a smile.
Delia is the head ward nurse, and with four grown sons and five grandkids of her own, she fills the role of “mother hen.” She stands under five feet tall but carries herself with a quiet, humble boldness that draws respect. After working for eight years in the Middle East, then 11 years in Baltimore in the United States (earning her dual citizenship in the process), Delia decided to return to the Philippines. She tells us, “Coming back to work in the Philippines was the most important professional decision I have made because I believed God had a plan for me. I may not have all of the comforts that I had overseas, but I am happy and content. I get to see truly happy and grateful people from the lowest walks of life, and the experience humbles me.”
Being a part of CURE’s mission contributes to Delia’s spirit of contentment. “There is a feeling of peace when I come to work. It may not always be a perfect day, but it just feels good to be working here. CURE stands out from other hospitals because of the intention to not only heal the physical self but also to spread news of the saving love of God. In the last four years, I’ve seen the genuine desire of our staff to uphold the values of CURE. They have intentional relationships and act in a way that really establishes trust, and we continue to work on that.”
Nurse Aileen also returned to her homeland after working overseas, in part to get married, but also to serve her fellow countrymen. “I worked in the Middle East for seven years and returned to the Philippines five years ago. The mission of Tebow CURE, healing the patients and letting them experience the grace of our heavenly Father, inspired me to serve my country.”
While it’s Aileen’s job to make sure our patients are receiving the best care possible, she confesses that in many cases, she gains more from the patients than she gives. The patients motivate her at work every day.
“I’m led by our patients to believe in miracles and transformation. They go from being crippled or broken to being restored, abled, and empowered physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. To heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God and to observe the core values of CURE are two visible distinctions of our hospital, which makes it different than other hospitals.” Aileen’s high level of patient care, her ability to be direct her colleagues, and her consistently high standards also make a positive impact here at Tebow CURE.
Nurse Meja has watched the hospital transform over the years while she’s experienced a lot of change in her personal life. Her husband recently returned from working overseas, and the couple welcomed their first baby almost a year ago. As the most soft-spoken member of the group, Meja offers a needed calming presence that our patients appreciate. She recently took charge of our free clinics, and with all the chaos that naturally ensues when large amounts of people are involved, she always maintains her composure.
Becoming a mom further inspired Meja to provide Christ-like care to our patients. “Becoming a mom changed my view, and now I make sure I’m intentional in taking care of them (outpatients), reaching out, and making myself available to caretakers who are anxious about the condition of their child.”
Meja previously served in China at another hospital for children with correctable conditions but returned to the Philippines to be closer to her family. “The Lord has been gracious. He opened a door where I can continue serving kids with disabilities, and I can enjoy those precious moments with my loved ones at the same time. Tebow CURE Hospital is truly a unique place. It reaches out to the patients beyond the medical, and when a patient leaves, they become a part of our family. I feel motivated to come to CURE because seeing patients, especially during follow-up after surgery, makes me really excited.”
If Nurse Meja is one of our quietest nurses, then Nurse Rejoice is one of our most outspoken! In a world with so many personalities, we need all types! As the mom of two young children, Rejoice is always in “mom mode,” which means being tough at times. She is often recruited to deal with “challenging” patients, and her amazing gift for disciplining with compassion usually results in friendships between her, our patients, and their families.
Rejoice has held several positions during her time at Tebow CURE, from ward nurse to head of clinic to her current position, chief nurse. In this new position of leadership, Rejoice has grown personally. “I am learning to be patient and comfortable with others, and I am still learning how to be an influencer. I am excited to come to work because I know God has enabled me to do what is asked of me. I have faith, and even though things are difficult sometimes, God surprises me in ways I never imagined. In the last four years, I feel the joy in serving Jesus through the patients we cater to and by serving patients from all walks of life.
And, finally, there’s Ralp. Ralp is the lone remainder from the original operating-room nursing staff. He began as a scrub nurse and is now the head nurse in his department. He has also seen a lot of changes personally; this past year he got married, and he and his wife are looking forward to welcoming their first child soon! Despite his mischievous smile and an equally playful personality, Ralp is affectionately called “Pastor Ralp” by much of the staff, due to his bold, evangelical heart. This guy just loves the Lord, and though he jokingly told us that he works at CURE because “I have no other choice!” there’s much more to his story.
“Even though I live 15 kilometers from the hospital, I enjoy coming to work to serve our patients and co-workers. Feeling valued and cared for motivates me to work with passion. Also, being the only remaining member from the original OR team makes me feel protective over the legacy left by the original team. Knowing I’m accountable for everything that happens there changed me, but for the better.”
Ralp sums up the sentiments of many of our employees and why they feel passionate about serving with CURE. “I’ve worked other places before coming to CURE. I can really see the difference. That’s why I feel very much at home.”