One of the most disturbing videos I have seen lately is that which involved a male Filipino nurse who battered an elderly in a care home in United KIngdom. Jonathan Aquino, a 30-year old registered nurse from Philippines who moved to UK in 2008, was caught through a hidden camera, slapping an 80-year old demented woman in Ash Court Care Home, London.

This incident happened last year when Jane Worroll, daughter of the 80-year old victim Maria Worroll started to notice bruises on her mother’s arms and legs and that her mother has been having trouble sleeping at night. She bought a secret camera hidden in an alarm clock and placed it in the victims’s bedroom, to answer her suspicion that her mom is being maltreated in the home. The footage, which was televised through the BBC Panorama program (and yes, it is now in the internet sites too) revealed how the client received an unacceptable healthcare treatment that included Aquino slapping her six times while she was given a night bath.

Anyone who viewed the video would be upset of Aquino’s treatment to the old lady. I myself am seriously bothered about it, so much that I cried and decided to quickly write about this for this FJ issue. I am bothered because I myself am a nurse; in fact, I am a Filipino nurse; and basically because, I am a Filipino.

Sure I said many times that I would not like to be a nurse forever, and many times I wished I was working another job, not nursing. But whether you find yourself loving or unloving your profession, you are bound to work and do your job according to the standards of your profession. Caring is the essence of nursing. Unfortunately, it was never reflected by the way Aquino executed his job. It is absolutely unacceptable to the nursing profession in any country or jurisdiction, to find a licensed nurse beating a powerless patient. Whatever happened to the nurses being angels in the sickroom? to the nurses’s vow for beneficence and non-maleficence? True, nursing knowledge can be attained by education. True, nursing skills can be enhanced through practice. And though saddening, it is true that nursing attitude, which is the most important to execute all the profession’s competencies, cannot be forced to someone who does not really have the passion to care. Albert Einstein said, “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is the character”. This quote also goes for all nurses. The incident is more than just an issue of health care standards. This is rather an issue of health ethics, and human rights.

I am a Filipino nurse, and just like anyone else in my generation, I was able to enjoy the collective impression that Filipino nurses are more caring and more compassionate than those from other cultures. Such impression could have not been worded, had it not been because of the Filipino nurses from the past generations, who have exemplified what an ideal Filipino nurse should be, and who have lived such ideals in their everyday practice. Such reputation, in one way or another, has given the Filipino nurses of today, an edge over other nationalities, to land on good jobs abroad, despite a tough global competition. Aquino should have realized that. The world could turn its cold shoulder on us in an instant, just because of one disturbing footage, and it may have to take many decades to get that positive reputation back to the Filipino nurses. The world won’t remember the name Jonathan Aquino, it will just remember what he did and where he came from- Philippines, that is.

What could be more outraging for a Filipino to see is to see another Filipino hitting a powerless elderly, who could be his or someone else’s mom or grandmother. It is ironic that while Filipinos claim that we have huge respect for family and old people, there’s this video.

Jonathan Aquino is sentenced to 18 months in prison for elderly abuse. The decision was made last April after Aquino admitted guilty of the common assault and ill treatment to Mrs. Worroll, as shown in the footage from a hidden camera.

There are still worse cases in the health care delivery in UK, and in those cases, the British nationalities are guilty of the abuse. But suffice it to say that any form of abuse is unacceptable. I may just have reacted this way because I am a Filipino and nurse, and what he did was a disgrace to both his nation and his profession. But more than that, I am reacting this way because what Aquino did was a sheer disgrace to the law of God and to the law of people. Anyone who believes in human life and dignity, knows what these all that I am saying.