CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Edmund Tabay, First Filipino Director of Nursing in the UK’s NHS

Updated: May 15

Edmund Tabay is the first Filipino nurse to hold a top nursing directorship role in the NHS. As Filipino nurses, we cannot help but feel inspired and proud of him achieving his position. In the UK, as of 2021, the Philippines provide the biggest number of Overseas Nurses according to the National Audit Office. However there have not been many who were able to progress to the top.

We did a short interview to get to know Edmund Tabay (ET) more and learn from his career journey. Most importantly we asked his views on important issues faced by Filipino nurses.

When you started your career in the UK, was being a nursing director part of your career goal?

ET: I admit that when I first started, I never thought that I would reach this post. Back then, all I wanted was to become an advanced practitioner or a nurse consultant. Being a manager was not part of my goals. Being an overseas nurse, I felt that it would be very difficult managing people. I even said to one of my very first mentors “Sister, I don’t think I can do your job… and I never intend to.” But I was surprised with her response “You know Edmund, things could change. Don’t say that, at this point.” I learned to be open to possibilities and take on opportunities.

My journey as an overseas nurse was not easy and not what I initially envisioned it to be. In every position I took, I would always ask myself—why do I want this role? For me I had to continuously re-assess my own intentions and goals. Knowing my whys gave me a solid and steady push forward.