Filipino nurse from Mindanao honoured with Order of the British Empire Award

Joy courageously and calmly led her team at the Royal London in caring for a deluge of injured people during the 2017 London Bridge terrorist attacks. Photo courtesy of NHS

LONDON, Jan. 5 — Filipino robotic lead nurse at The Royal London Joy Ongcachuy was awarded an Order of the British Empire Awards in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list in London on 29 December 2018, alongside two other medical professionals and members of the MET police who immediately sprang to action to care for the injured in the 2017 London Bridge terrorist attacks.

The Order of the British Empire Award is a prestigious award conferred on those who have “made achievements in public life,” or “committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.”  According to GOV.UK, the nominee must still be actively involved in what they are being nominated for.  Once the honour’s list has been drafted by the Cabinet Office Honours and Appointments Secretariat, the committee’s recommendations go to the Prime Minister and then to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who awards the honour.

“I was working the night shift that night and I heard the anaesthetist’s bleep go off. We already had a really sick patient in one of our theatres, so I had to get our other theatres ready and pull a team of nurses, allied health professionals and operating department practitioners together,” said Ongcachuy, who hails from Talisayan, Misamis Oriental.  “We opened an additional six theatres that night and everyone I called dropped everything they were doing to come to the aid of the patients.  No one panicked; everyone was calm and so supportive.”

“Their leadership, compassion and integrity is inspiring every day, but was especially true at a time when Londonders relied on us to be there for them,” said Jackie Sullivan, managing director at the Royal London and Mile End hospitals.

Ongcachuy started working at The Royal London Hospital in 2002.  In a desire to begin anew with her family in the United Kingdom (UK), she and 23 other Filipino nurses joined The Royal London as a scrub nurse until she was promoted to lead nurse in 2017.

Ongcachuy expressed that she had always wanted to be a nurse because she loves to look after people and is passionate about providing care to others.  Ongcachuy also makes sure that all new Filipino nurses feel welcomed and supported when they join the hospital she currently works in.

“It is a proud moment for all Filipinos to have someone like Joy recognised in the Order of the British Empire Awards,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo.  “Joy’s courage, passion, and dedication to serve and care for her patients is truly an inspiring and heartwarming example.”

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