appendix: on sources
A study that takes seriously the transnational dynamics of Filipino nurse migra-
tion requires a two-shores approach. My methodology included ethnographic
and archival research in both the United States and the Philippines. As larger
studies of migration often focus on the broader political and economic contexts
in which migrations take place at the expense of the personal stories of migrants
themselves, one of my objectives was to place a human face on this study
through in-depth oral interviews with Filipino nurses in the United States. I
conducted forty-three oral interviews, each lasting between one and three
hours. Forty of these interviews were with Filipino nurses working in New
York City hospitals (where the percentage of Filipino registered nurses is the
highest in the United States) and took place in New York City. One interview
took place in New Jersey; the remaining two were conducted in Washington
State. Although the presence of Filipino nurses in nursing homes and other
health care–related institutions has become more visible in recent years, the
labor of Filipino nurses in U.S. hospitals is particularly significant. According
to Paul Ong and Tania Azores, a 1984 study revealed that an overwhelming
majority of Filipino registered nurses in the United States, over 82 percent,
worked in hospitals, compared to 53 percent of non-Filipinos.
I recruited interview participants primarily using a snowball technique, in
which I asked people for names of other potential participants. My Filipino
immigrant family also got involved in this process by asking nurses they knew
(or even had just met) if they might consider being interviewed by me. I am
indebted to all of them, especially my mother, for her assistance in this regard
because I believe that many of the nurses I interviewed saw me in the context of
my family relations and that this context furthered their willingness to talk with
me about their life history. My observations during two months of volunteer
work at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and attendance at a Philippine
Nurses Association of Southern California meeting in Fullerton and a Philip-
pine Nurses Association of America conference at Las Vegas as well as my
reading informed my interview questions.
In the United States, I conducted archival research at Boston University’s
nursing archives, the Filipino American National History Society archives in
Seattle, Washington, and university libraries throughout the country to locate
issues of the Philippine Journal of Nursing, mainstream and ethnic newspapers,
American nursing journals and fact books, government documents, and federal
court records. The voluminous records of the Bureau of Insular A√airs relating
to the Philippine Islands located in the U.S. National Archives in College Park,
Maryland provided many useful details on U.S. colonial nursing. The court files
of Filipina Narciso and Leonora Perez located in the U.S. National Archives in
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