Aster Guardians


Francis Michael Fernando

North East London NHS Foundation Trust
United Kingdom

Francis Michael Fernando went from starting as a nurse to being a leader on many fronts. A Filipino nurse in the National Health System (NHS) in the UK, he started the Filipino Nurses Association there to represent those from his community, who also happened to form the largest foreign group of employees in the organisation. The association highlighted the high number of deaths of Filipino nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and pushed decision-makers to act. This lobbying resulted in the provision of PPE kits for frontline employees and a specialised helpline for Filipinos.

He also focused on addressing the low level of representation that Filipino nurses have in the NHS, despite forming the majority of foreign nurses. He believed they had greater leading potential and could help make a bigger difference in patient care. To help achieve this, he founded the National Head of the Nursing & Midwifery Network. He also set up the Senior Filipino Nurses Alliance UK which seeks to increase the number of Filipino nurses working in senior roles. 40 applications for higher posts have been successful so far, including 30 that were guided by mentors and coaches. His goal is to, one day, have a Filipino Chief Nurse in the UK.

Additionally, Francis started a quality improvement project called Striving for Excellence in Hip Fracture Care to help his institution successfully satisfy national requirements. While he engaged in the process from start to finish, many doctors were reluctant to come on board. Despite this, he persisted and as a result, his hospital ranked no.12 among the best-performing hospitals in the country. His resolve to lead has resulted in positive changes for nurses, the medical system, and various patients.

Learn about a day in the life of Nurse Francis here.