International Women’s Day (March 8) is a time to celebrate the lives and achievements of women around the world. At RNnetwork, we are fortunate to be surrounded by remarkable women from every country, culture, and walk of life who are unwavering in their dedication to the patients they serve.
We are delighted to recognize the careers and contributions of three such women in travel nursing. Each shares her journey of moving to the United States, pursuing a career in travel nursing, and how her background and culture influence the care she delivers.
Veronica Asimolowo, El Salvador
Veronica Asimolowo originally studied marketing in her native El Salvador. After moving to the United States, she shifted her focus to healthcare and pursued a degree in nursing, accepting a full-time position in labor and delivery upon graduation. However, as her spouse’s military career required frequent relocation, Asimolowo looked to travel nursing as a way to maintain continuity in a career she loved, while also enjoying the flexibility to move with her family.
“When our family first moved to Indiana, it was difficult to find a full-time position, since I didn’t know how long I would be here,” says Asimolowo. “I started looking into travel nursing, and soon received so many calls it was easy to find a position. And because I have a great recruiter, I’ve never had any trouble finding my next assignment. It works so well for our family, because if my husband moves, I can go with him. We have two children, and I don’t have any family around, so it’s helpful to move together — that way, we have each other to be here with the kids.”
Among the benefits of travel nursing, Asimolowo enjoys exposure to different people, processes and technology as important learning opportunities. Most especially, she cites the independence travel nursing affords as the most important benefit to her at this stage in her career. With her family’s interest in travel, and family members still living in El Salvador, she appreciates the flexibility to take time to be with family.
“I have more independence as a travel nurse. If I want to take a break between assignments to travel, I can,” says Asimolowo. “That’s important for me, because I was not raised in the US. When I had a full-time position, it was hard to get any vacation. But now, I can go to El Salvador for my grandmother’s birthday in April. Also, my husband and I are always traveling, so this is the right thing for me right now.”
Hind Elghazzali, Morocco
Operating room nurse Hind Elghazzali was born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco. Stemming from a lifelong interest in health and medicine, Elghazzali pursued a career in nursing. She moved to the U.S. in 2000 and found her fit with travel nursing.
Elghazzali says she feels emboldened as a travel nurse to stand up and speak out when something is not aligned with policy and her high standards of patient care.
“I am the type to deliver care without fear. If I see something wrong or a policy not being followed, I speak up,” says Elghazzali. “You’re fearless as a travel nurse. You’re not afraid to say, ‘your policy says X, Y and Z, and I don’t know what’s going on here’ when something is out of line with your beliefs. Bottom line: it’s important to remember you picked this line of work because you care, you want to make a difference in somebody’s very vulnerable time. You’re there to oversee their care and to reassure them.”
Elghazzali credits her upbringing and culture for their influence on her approach to nursing. Morocco’s blend of people and perspectives shaped her world view, which translates to compassion and understanding when it comes to her patients.
“I’m so grateful for that piece — I come from a different culture. Morocco is so close to Europe and the population is very, very diverse. Especially working in an inner-city hospital — it gave me exposure to so many different cultures, ethnicities and walks of life,” says Elghazzali. “I approach people with my guard down. I try to bring myself to their level and respect who they are as people. I withhold judgment and respect their boundaries. I’m there to deliver the best care that I can, to do my 110 percent and hope and pray for an optimal outcome.”
Paulet Naquila, Philippines
Paulet Naquila, a post-anesthesia care unit nurse, came to the U.S. in 2014 and began practicing nursing at a hospital in Arkansas, and later as a travel nurse. But the road to her nursing education and career began long before, in her native Danao City, Cebu, Philippines.
Naquila graduated with a degree in biology in 1980 and went on to complete three years of medical school, with the support of her father. As she neared her residency, her father unexpectedly fell ill and was in need of open-heart surgery. She wanted to be there for her father, and she didn’t want to have to rely on extended family for financial support. So, she planned to leave her medical studies.
“My father was desperate, he really wanted me to continue my studies,” says Naquila. “I’ve always been religious and believed in divine intervention. I prayed, and it just so happened I met a woman who introduced me to a Catholic priest who had friends in Japan who sent women to school for free. To this day, I’ve never known who sent me to school. I heard the name Sister Monique — she was the one who covered my tuition fee to help me complete my medical training.”
Naquila embraces her culture and the influence it has on the way she practices medicine, and has seen how it helps her excel in her career in the U.S.
“In the Philippines, we are taught to attend to and take care of our patients just like a member of the family,” says Naquila. “When I was a clinical instructor, I always told my students that they need empathy. It’s remembering that your patient is a human being just like you. Back in the Philippines, because of limitations, we may have been more delayed when it came to medical technology or certain skills. But we always pour our hearts into what we do for our patients, and that’s what patients see.”