Raymond Mabanta is the youngest among five siblings. After initially eyeing Physical Therapy as a career, he eventually decided to be a nurse. His first realization after passing the licensure exams was how difficult it was to find employment. The second was how paltry nurses were paid.

He remembered one time when he had to ask his mother for money because is funds had run out before the next payday. “It was like a slap in the face knowing I was already working but still could not completely provide for myself,” he told MIMS.

Nurse Raymond later set a goal to improve his lot. It required intensive language training, which necessitated quitting his nursing job. His perseverance and sacrifice eventually paid off and Nurse Raymond Mabanta of Marikina City was among the pioneers in the Triple Win Project, the German government’s initiative to fill up nursing positions in the European state.

New set of challenges

Getting there was just one challenge. Yes, they had made it. But there were many more hoops to go through to finally be recognized as a registered nurse.

For nurses aspiring to work in Germany, Nurse Raymond said adjustments were necessary in three aspects: people, language and weather.

Successful applicants had to work and study simultaneously. They put in time as nurse aides then spent the other half of their time studying to pass qualifying exams for advanced languages to work as full-time RNs.

Raymond Mabanta (in green) with colleagues in Germany
Raymond Mabanta (in green) with colleagues in Germany

The Filipino nurse admitted adjusting to a new environment did not come easy. For one, the Germans used the European system in the hospital setting, while Filipinos were trained in the American work style.

“That means we had to change our mindset and adapt,” Raymond said. It took him around 6 to 9 months to do just that.

Acclimatizing to the weather was difficult. It is unpredictable, he said of the weather. Snow sometimes falls in March or April, traditionally spring time. Rain, hail and sunshine happens anytime.

Candid Germans

Nurse Raymond describes Germans as frank and honest. And it is a kind of straightforwardness that don’t sit well for most Filipinos.

“They don’t hesitate to say what’s on their mind,” he said. “And that’s a big issue for Filipinos because we are melodramatic and sensitive to negative comments.”

Germans, too, are known for punctuality. They value time, the Filipino nurse stressed. It is in complete contrast to those used to getting things done when they are done, which translates to being late.

This is a major adjustment, Raymond pointed out.

Nurse Raymond (in white cap) with fellow successful Filipino nurses in Germany
Nurse Raymond (in white cap) with fellow successful Filipino nurses in Germany

As a tip to his countrymen hoping to land a nursing job in Germany, he said transitioning to the German culture will be made easier by being independent in work and in life.

“Know how to approach people, learn to be in sync with their behaviour ‘wavelength’ and treat everyday as a learning process,” Raymond said. It’s something he’s picked up after four years of living there.

Adapt to a different life

Adjusting is key to success. Those who are unable to do so will likely be packing their bags as soon as possible, he added.

While fulfilled with the life and career he has made in Germany, Nurse Raymond remains open to new possibilities in the future.

It’s a job that pays extremely well and has taught him more than just nursing skills or a new language.

For aspiring nurses, Raymond has this to say: “Start planning everything. Take the first step. Don’t give up even when negative things come your way. Be patient, trust in God and dream big!” MIMS

Read more:

A nurse's journey to a dream job in Germany - Part 1
Employment opportunities for Filipino nurses in Germany