Dr. Dely Po Go: Portrait of a Filipina as an American nurse

‘Nursing has evolved and continues to evolve.’

By Cristina DC Pastor

There was a time Filipino nurses in the U.S. were seen as hospital workers in their starch whites scurrying at the beck and call of doctors and providing their patients an affectionate kind of care.

They still are — in their dainty scrubs — but they’re no longer the one-dimensional caregivers we knew from the 1960s and the 1970s. Today’s Filipino nurses in the U.S. – estimated at more than 200,000 RNs — are also educators, entrepreneurs, advocates, and business owners. They remain valued pillars of the American medical system, but their contributions to health care are not confined around a hospital bed.

Dr. Dely Po Go is one such multi-layered heath care provider. She is the president and owner of Nursing Network, LLC, in Clifton, New Jersey, that trains nurses and provides them jobs. She is an adjunct faculty at two universities — William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. and Fairleigh Dickinson University — teaching graduate courses. As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Nursing — the charity affiliate of the New Jersey State Nurses Association — she is involved with managing grants to support research, education, and clinical practice. In addition, she volunteers in medical missions and fundraises for Filipino children in need.

Being a nurse became Dely’s gateway to the U.S. “I took Nursing for not only will it give me the opportunity to work in the U.S., but also will make me an effective health care provider to my own family,” she said in an interview with The FilAm.

She came to the U.S. in 1986 following a series of tragedies in her family involving kidnap syndicates.

“In 1986, four members of my husband’s family — his dad, mom, sister and younger brother — were murdered brutally,” she shared. “We came here for our safety.”

In the U.S., Dely — with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Silliman University – worked as a geriatric nurse and an open-heart surgery nurse. While employed, she pursued higher education and completed her Master’s degree in Nursing and Public Health Administration as well as her degree in Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nursing Education Administration and System Administration.

Dely when she was awarded The New Jersey Nurse Diva 2019 by the New Jersey Institute of Nursing/ New Jersey State Nurses Association ‘for leadership and for
making a notable difference in the lives of people.’ With her (from left) is former Bergenfield Mayor Atty. Robert Rivas and wife Marjorie Rivas, daughter in-law Atty. Renee Rivas, son Harry Jr., husband Harry Sr., and daughter Hadel.

A licensed nursing home administrator, she founded Nursing Network in 2000 and grew the company into what it is today — a network  serving  about 35 facilities for New Jersey’s elderly population.  More than 500 nurses are employed through Nursing Network, and it is Dely’s responsibility to make sure they “consistently provide quality and safe nursing care” to patients.

Nursing has evolved and continues to evolve,” declared Dely.  “Thanks to our unstoppable nurses who made nursing a distinct profession, they have proven that nurses can function above and beyond just assisting doctors and caring for patients.”

Filipino nurses are ‘most trusted’

The demand for Filipino nurses is real!

Filipino nurses, according to Dely, are the “most trusted” members of the U.S. nursing community. “Majority of us are in the junior and senior management positions impacting and advancing the U.S. health care delivery system.”

Sharing research from the Journal of the American Medical Association, she said the country could face a huge shortage of about 500,000 nurses by 2020,  more than 1 million by the year 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Digitalization contributing to the “exodus” of older nurses is one reason; the other is the evolution of the nursing practice.

“Unlike before, today there are many places that nurses can work other than hospitals. Nurses are needed in medical offices, schools, insurance companies, nursing homes facilities, rehab centers, home health care, and correctional facilities. Nurses have evolved to be the true backbone of the healthcare system,” she said.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dely is the recipient of numerous awards for nursing leadership, entrepreneurship, and being a woman of distinction. One honor that is memorable is the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award where her life story was selected from among 1.5 million professional biographies in and around the world. It was published in the Wall Street Journal.

A family blessed

Family means a lot to Dely, a native of Cadiz City in Negros Occidental. She was raised the third of nine siblings by Filipino-Chinese parents engaged in multiple businesses who value honesty and dedication in their workers and expect the same of their children.

Dely’s husband remains connected to the Philippines through his food businesses. Harry Go Sr., a graduate of the San Carlos University in Cebu, is the distributor of Birch Tree milk powder in the Philippines. He is also the owner of Crown Candy factory which makes snacks and sweets.

They are blessed with two children: daughter Hadel who is taking her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at Rowan University; and Harry Jr., a business graduate at Fordham University who now works as Lead Producer at Marvel Entertainment. He was the producer for two documentaries for ABC primetime: “Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!” and “Marvel’s Captain America: 75 Heroic Years.”

Mused Dely, “What my family is today is mission and vision met.  Sadness, self-pity, difficulties turned to complete success and happiness through hard work, determination, and utilization, and application of knowledge learned. Could not ask more from God. We are blessed as a family.”

© The FilAm 2020

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