Victorian-based Community Care nurse Vamie Pinlac originally intended to join the army to serve his country but following the advice of his parents, he decided to become a nurse instead. He remembers his mother telling him that he should go overseas to find his dream; Vamie grew up in the Philippines where he says his mother worked hard to give him a good education so that he could escape poverty. “I grew up in a less fortunate family however, my parents embrace education and they were very emphatic about self-actualization and achievements,” he explains.

Vamie embarked on his nursing career through four years of study in the Philippines with his final and fifth year spent preparing for a board examination. One of his biggest challenges was then becoming a Registered Nurse in Australia. “In order for overseas nurses to practice as professional nurses in Australia, we need to go through intensive training referred to as a bridging course or a conversion course,” he says. “It felt like all those nursing subjects which were originally taught for 5 years were shortened and compressed into 3 months of study. It was quite stressful.”

In Vamie’s early days as a student nurse in the Philippines, he explains that he wanted to travel overseas to earn enough money to raise his family out of poverty. At the time, it seemed as though pursuing a career as a nurse in another country would be the easiest way to do this. “Little did I know that the desire and selfish perspective of mine would be totally changed by seeing my course as vocation instead of just a mere profession,” he says. “Compassion for the sick, and the strong desire to help the sick, became my second nature when I was a student.” Vamie finds it rewarding when he sees sick people receiving proper care and this feeling of being valued and appreciated for administering this care as a student in turn motivated him to complete his course and become a fully-fledged nurse.

Vamie was inspired to work with the elderly in Aged Care because he cared for his grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease. He says that working as a personal care assistant in an aged care centre for several years reminded him of her. “I see my family members in the elderly,” he explains. Vamie’s biggest inspiration, however, is God. “He placed me into this profession to make a difference and to minister to whom He loves the most; widows and the elderly who are sick and in need,” he says. “As I always did with my previous workplaces, it’s an honour to serve God through The Salvation Army. Since God is my ultimate boss, I will give my best to render care in every way I can to our clients.”

Vamie goes on to explain that the elderly have built the nation as we know it today. “They worked hard and pay taxes to build communities and elevated Australia to where it’s currently at,” he says. “So, render the care they deserve as they need to reap what they diligently have sown yesterday. Remember, at some point we will get old too. We will reap tomorrow what we plant today.”