Top 10 Most Inspiring Filipino Nurses in the United Arab Emirates

top 10 nurses

Images Credit: Kabayan Weekly

The list of Migrant Pen’s choice of Filipinos who should be named as the Top Ten Most Inspiring Nurses in the United Arab Emirates are, as follows: Julieta Solas, Rufina Buyagan, Amabella S. Ong, Myrna Fernandez-Avillanoza, Eduardo S. Buhay, Amy Miranda, Brigette M. Tagure, Hennie Nacario, Lonie Tambong and Zeehan O. Pendaliday.

Allow me to share few of their achievements to inspire migrants in Middle East and other parts of the world.


Julieta T. Solas, RN

  • Charge Nurse, Shift Supervisor and Clinical Educator, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Latifa Hospital, Dubai
  • Hometown: Jaro, Iloilo City
  • Education: BS Nursing (1978), Central Philippine University

Picture1Juliet first came to UAE in 1984 and was lucky to have been admitted by the Department of Health and Medical Services as Staff Nurse at the Male Neuro-Surgical Ward of Rashid Hospital. In 1985, she was assigned at the Medical Female and Neuro-Pediatric Ward and a year after, for about six months, she was at the Intensive Care Unit and Infectious Disease Unit.

In 1987, the NICU was transferred to Al Wasl Hospital now Latifa Hospital, Dubai Health Authority (DHA). She was Staff Nurse at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit until 1996. She was promoted as Charge Nurse in 1996 and worked until 2003.

She became Unit-in-Charge in 2003 until 2008. From 2003 to 2006, she was the Alternate Area Supervisor of the Pediatric, OB-Gyne ICU and SCBU. In 2008, she became the Bereavement Coordinator and finally in 2011, she became the Unit-in-Charge of the Pediatric Surgical Ward.

She received the Dubai Govenment Excellence Award in May 14, 2007 from no less than Sheikh Mohammad Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.Her other awards include Women of Substance (Illustrado Magazine) and Lifetime Achievement Award (Kabayan Weekly, 2013). She was also included in the Western Union’s search for “Heroes for Better” on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.


 Rufina Edduba-Buyagan, RN

  • Staff Nurse 2, Latifa Hospital
  • Hometown: Pasil, Kalinga Apayao
  • Education: BS Nursing, Union Christian College, San Fernando, La Union.

Picture2Filipina Nightingale Rufina Edduba Buyagan has been an Emergency Pediatric Nurse at the Latifa Hospital, formerly Al Wasl Hospital since 1991 for 27 straight long years.

In September of 1990, she moved to Dubai and worked in the OB-GYNE Ward of Latifa Hospital. From then on, she was assigned in various areas of the hospital. In 1997, she was named Staff Nurse 1 by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). She was promoted Staff Nurse 2 later.

The 52-year-old good Samaritan is known for her extraordinary leadership and performance.  She is one of the advisers of Kalinga Province Organization – UAE Chapter. Her commitment in caring for patients and their significant others has been a great asset to the hospital as well as the Filipino and the local community.



Amabella S. Ong, RN

  • Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital, Umm Al Quwain
  • Hometown: Isabela, Basilan
  • Education: BS Nursing, Western Mindanao State University.

Picture4Bella moved to Dubai in 2004 and joined the American Hospital Dubai where she worked as Staff Nurse at the Heart Center, BLS/ACLS Instructor at the AHA International Training Center until her promotion as Supervisor and Acting Manager, Heart Centre in 2008. In 2009, she transferred to the  as Dubai Mall Medical Centre, Emaar Healthcare Group/Methodist Int’l as Senior Nurse, Cardiology Services from 2009 to 2011.

She was Nurse Manager and promoted as Divisional Director of the Cardiology Department and OPD Department at the International Modern Hospital. She facilitated the establishment of the first Chest Pain Unit in Dubai in coordination with Dr Rajeev Lochan at the International Modern Hospital. She also established at International Modern Hospital Life Support Training as a training site – Basic Life Support under Dubai Health Authority as the training center.

She is the first awardee of the Search for Nurse of the Year of Kabayan Weekly recognized in fitting ceremonies held at The Address Dubai Marina in 2013.


Myrna Fernandez-Avillanoza, RN

  • Nursing Supervisor, Al Zaara Hospital, Sharjah
  • Hometown: Iloilo City
  • Education: BS Nursing (1972), Philippine Women’s University in 1972

Picture3Myrna arrived in Dubai in 1976 together with other 60 Filipino nurses who were hired by Rashid Hospital. Rashid Hospital is a 454-bed general medical/surgical facility and is a part of the Dubai Health Authority. Built in 1973, it is the city’s second oldest hospital. From this hospital, she worked until 1981.

She was admitted first as a Staff Nurse at Al Zahra Hospital from 1981 to 1993. She was promoted as BLEEP Sister in 1984, a post she held until 1991. In 1991, she was again promoted as Sister-in-Charge for two years until 1993.

Recognizing her commitment and dedication to the hospital, the management of Al Zahra Hospital named her as a Night Supervisor for the Outpatient Department in 1993.  In 1996, she was assigned as General Day Nursing Supervisor. For two decades now, Myrna enjoys the perks and privileges of being a Supervisor of one of the innovative hospitals in the Gulf. But she enjoys most being of great service to the Filipinos and other nationals through her position.

She has been serving the UAE community for 32 years now from 1983 to present.


 Eduardo S. Buhay, RN

  • Learning and Development Specialist, Emirates Airline
  • Hometown: Daet, Camarines Norte
  • Education: BS Nursing (1989), Mabini College

Picture6In 1991, Ed was hired as Ambulance Nurse and Emergency Medical Technician of Dubai Police Ambulance Department of the Government of Dubai. He was with the department until 2000. He then moved to Dubai Airport Medical Centre under the Department of Health and Medical Services as a Staff Nurse from 2000 to 2002.

In 2002, he joined the Emirates Airline as Emergency Medical Technician based in the Dubai International Airport. A year after, he was promoted to the post of Learning and Development Officer and eventually as a Specialist under the Group Medical Training Unit of Emirates Aviation College- Crew Training. He has been in this post for about 13 years now.

 For his extraordinary achievements, he was a recipient of various awards. For one, he was recognized as Nurse of the Year during the 3rd Anniversary celebration of Kabayan Weekly in Dubai.


Amy Magracia-Miranda, RN

  • Charge Nurse- OBGYN, Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital, Umm Al Quwain
  • Hometown: Taguig, Metro Manila
  • Education: Midwifery (1993), Emilio Aguinaldo College; BS Nursing (1996), St. Jude College, Manila; MBA in Hospital Administration (2015), Cornerstone College for International Studies, Ras Al Khaimah

Picture7Amy Magracia Miranda started working as a Nurse in 1998. She has been practicing the nursing profession for 17 years in two Middle East states – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. She is currently working as Charge Nurse in the OBGYN Department of Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital (SKGH) in Umm Al Qwuain.

In 1998, she was selected for a job in Saudi Arabia under the Ministry of Health. She stayed in KSA till 2002. When her husband transferred to Dubai, she also followed him on the same year and stayed and lived in UAE from then onwards.

In 2002, she joined Zulekha Hospital in Sharjah and worked for almost 11 years before she transferred to AUS and now in Sheik Khalifa General Hospital. In 2010, she was awarded an international recognition as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in Austria.


Brigette Mazo-Tagure, RN 

  • Bariatric Nurse, Rashid Center for Diabetes and Research, Ajman, United Arab Emirates
  • Hometown: Padcal, Benguet
  • Education:  BS Theraphy & BS Nursing, Baguio Central University

Picture8Brigette left the Philippines and became an expat in UAE seven years ago in search of a better life. It took her two months to finally be hired. After passing the licensure examination given by the UAE MOE in 2006, she was admitted as a Geriatric Nurse at the Social Services Department of the Government of Sharjah. From 2006 to 2010, she was an advocate for the older adult to improve their health status. She also passed the IELTS with an overall band score of 8.

A licensed physiotherapist and registered nurse, she was sent by the Global Health Partner and Rashid Center for Diabetes and Research, to Lund and Gothenburg in Sweden to undergo special education and training in the bariatric surgery field in recognition of her excellent performance.

She is president of Kalinga Province Organization-UAE.


Henrietta “Hennie” M. Nacario, RN

  • Nurse Supervisor & Head, Surgical Step Down Unit, Al Ain Cromwell Hospital, Abu Dhabi
  • Hometown: Biñan, Laguna /Birthplace: Gamu, Isabela
  • Education: BS Nursing (1993), St. Michael’s College, Biñan, Laguna

Picture9This Pinay nurse made headlines when in September 2004, she managed and escorted a heat stroke Pole National to his home country. She was again the talk of Pinoy health community in UAE when she handled Al Mafraq Hospital’s first successful Siamese twins operation case. She was then employed as a staff nurse at the Intensive Care Unit.

Henrietta M. Nacario, 41, is a dedicated nurse intensivist with almost 9 years of expertise in managing critically ill patients. She is presently the Nurse Supervisor at Al Ain Cromwell Hospital in Abu Dhabi, a post she holds since 2010. Aside from being a pioneer staff, she was also named the Head of the Surgical Stepdown Unit (SSDU).  Prior to her present appointment, she was connected for seven years, from 2002 to 2007, with the Al Mafraq Hospital. She has also worked as Charge Nurse for three years and mentored new staff nurses  from 2005-2007. She was also a Quality Link Nurse for Al Mafraq Hospital’s Main ICU Dept. from June 2005-Dec. 2007.

In 2002, she passed the MOH exam given in Abu Dhabi and in 2010, she got her HAAD license. Also, a US registered nurse, she was given license by the Board of Nursing of State of Vermont.


Lonie Tonel-Tambong, RN

  • Company Nurse, Dubai World Trade Center
  • Hometown: Makato, Aklan
  • Education: BS Nursing (1985), Saint Gabriel College, Kalibo, Aklan

Picture10Pinay nurse Lonie Tonel Tambong was the Most Popular Personality in 2002 at the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC) where she has been working for the last 16 years as a Company Nurse and an Emergency Medical Staff. In 2001, she was presented with the Five Years Service Award and in 2007, she was conferred the Ten Years Service Award.

As a registered nurse in UAE, she holds two licenses – from the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Abu Dhabi, 1995 and from the Department of Health and Medical Services (DHMS) in Dubai, 1996.  Lonie has undergone no less than 39 training courses as reflected in her certificates and licenses. This is an amazing achievement, according to her friend Nicoleta Nicoli, as high as her modesty and warmth.

She first worked as a staff nurse at the Department of Health and Medical Services in Dubai from 1988 to 1994. In 1995, she joined the Mon Ecole French Nursery School in Dubai as a Nursery School Nurse for one year. She was also a Senior Staff Nurse at the Jumeirah Family Clinic in Dubai. In 2003, she passed the NCLEX RN Examination given by the California Board in Sacramento, California, USA. Notwithstanding her impressive credentials and despite offers outside of Middle East, she’s happy to have her second home in the desert of gold.


Zeehan O. Pendaliday, RN

  • Staff Nurse, Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre, Dubai
  • Hometown: Cotabato City
  • Education: BS Nursing (1999), Notre Dame University, Cotabato City

Picture11Zeehan Omar Pendaliday, 34, is a licensed registered nurse for 12 years now. Since 2006, she has been a Staff Nurse with the Rashid Hospital, a 500-bed capacity tertiary hospital under the Department of Health and Medical Services.

At a young age of 22, she first worked abroad in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She was a Staff Nurse at the General Care Dispensary, a 50-bed capacity secondary hospital in Dammam from 2000 to 2003. There, she served the prenatal, ante natal and post natal patients. In July 2003, she moved to the Armed Forces Hospital in King Abdul Aziz Airbase in Dhahran. She worked as Staff Nurse in this 359-bed capacity tertiary level hospital under the KSA Ministry of Defence and Aviation mostly dealing with obstetrics gynaecology surgery and antenatal patients. She finished her two-year contract in July 2005.

She serves the Filipino Community in Dubai as Communications Director of the Sangguniang Masang Pilipino International.

o0o —————– o0o

IMG_3984THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, historian and book author who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique.  While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.



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