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If you are capable of loving

Sharlon Bolivar grew up in the Philippines in a city at the base of a volcano. His father was a magistrate and he thought he might also join the legal profession. But his mum saw something else in Sharlon. She saw something that was predominant in her family. A quietness and a caring nature. Like in many families, nursing was in their blood.

She encouraged Sharlon to pursure a nursing career. He passed his nursing exams and keen to progress with his professional development and individual achievement, he set off in 2009 to Libya to work as a coronary care nurse. In 2011 Shar found himself in the midst of a civil war.

The hospital was in the heart of the military barracks and shots and bombshell noise was an everyday occurance. He was soon evacuated back to the Philippines and eager for more experiences worked for six months in in the Sudan as an intensive care unit nurse.

Eight months later he was asked to return to Libya but on his return he found the political situation was unstable. "It was democratic but everyone wanted power." A second civil war began and the hospital was bombed. Many people were killed.

It was time for Sharlon to find a quiet more peaceful place to live. He knew of New Zealand as all '80's babies in the Philippines did, because of the extensive advertising of New Zealand milk.

Arriving in Auckland, Sharlon studied for a diplomas in Business Studies and worked as a caregiver at Edmund Hillary for two years. He applied for his NZ nursing registration but it was difficult to receive the documentation from the Sudan and Libya. Sharlon was persistent and finally received the papers he required.

He studied for his NZ registration during his annual leave and he recognises the importance of this to gauge the knowledge and align his nursing skills with the NZ way. "I told myself failing is not an option. You've gotta do this."

"I tell my staff I have been there as a caregiver – that is the joy of it – I have been there."

He was encouraged by his manager who saw his potential, to apply for the international nurses scholarship. "It was like a breath of fresh air and gave me pride and honour," he said.

Sharlon moved to Wellington's Rita Angus village to take on a registered nurse's role and in July 2017 was promoted to hospital coordinator.

If you are capable of loving2 main

When asked about International Nurses' Day this week, Sharlon replied with true compassion, "Love is international – it can transcend language and borders. Nursing is nurturing. If you can put that into your life you are able to nurse.

I wouldn't be a nurse if my mum didn't believe in me. Mums can see your future way ahead. She was my first assessor."

If you are capable of loving main

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