Sentara Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Passport Nurses

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Passport Program allows nurses from all over the world to come work in hospitals across the United States. Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital recently contracted 10 of these nurses, hoping to expand its caring embrace in new ways.

Chief Executive Nurse Johnsa Morris says these passport nurses are an important new addition to the team.

"We are introducing diversity within our community here at the hospital, and we wanted to make sure we were doing our part," said Morris.

Kathleen Eviza is one of the newest passport nurses at Sentara Martha Jefferson. She was born in the Philippines and was working as a nurse in Saudi Arabia before coming to Charlottesville.

"Working in a different culture back in Saudi gives me a different, diverse background. And so I worked with British people, Indian, Asian. Coming here, it helped me a lot, because I don't feel so, you know, different," she said of her past nursing experiences.

Morris says the hospital has been happy to welcome the new nurses.

"Martha Jefferson bringing on our passport nurses really just demonstrates the open arms and the open door that we have here for all employees, regardless of where you came from," said Morris.

And Eviza says she feels welcomed by her new community.

"The caring culture that they have here, being able to work in different hospitals back home, and then in Saudi, it's just like people are very warm in here," she said.

The hospital is lucky to have Eviza for the duration of her three-year contract, but even after traveling across the world to come to Virginia, she is still looking forward to her future as a passport nurse.

"I want to be in different countries as well," said Eviza. "It's going to bring diversity on my experience, so I'm not sure if this is going to be the last stop."

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