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BukSU College of Nursing honors the late Mrs. Vicenta Flores, Bukidnon pioneering nurse

MALAYBALAY CITY (OP-IPS) The Bukidnon State University College of Nursing faculty gave posthumous honors to one of the nurse pioneers of the City of Malaybalay and the province of Bukidnon, Mrs. Vicenta Tadiar Flores.

The honor was given in line with BukSU’s commemoration of the world-wide celebration of the 2021 Women’s Month. With the COVID-19 pandemic knocking on everybody’s door, the Gender and Development Unit had to dig deep into its arsenals for undertakings that would suit the current situation and push the cause of women everywhere.

One of the activities, which came to fruition was the showcase and recognition of empowered local women who have distinct contributions to various fields in our society.

This is the late nurse Vicente Flores’ story.

She was one of 10 children, born and raised in San Fernando, La Union. She graduated from the Mary Johnston School of Nursing in Tondo, Manila, finishing when World War II broke out.

She enlisted in the Army, becoming an Army Nurse in the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) where she met her future husband, Lieutenant Florencio M. Flores, then serving as a doctor in the army.

They got married after the war and migrated from Luzon to Mindanao, settling down in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. She started married life far away from her family, in a place where language and customs are unknown to her, with no friends or extended family.

She then pursued her nursing career at the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital (now Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center or BPMC), working long shifts, assisting in surgeries, taking heed of the sick and at the same time taking care of a rapidly growing family – eventually raising seven children. They were blessed with 15 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren

When her husband went into private practice, she stood by his side and assisted in surgeries and helped deliver hundreds of babies. She took care of the new mothers as well as their infants, cooking their meals, bathing, feeding and teaching them about self and infant care.

She taught them how to tend for wounds and how to recognize and prevent infection. When her clients unburdened themselves and talked about personal problems, she counseled them when appropriate.

She and her husband were active members of the Rotary Club for many years. One of the projects of the club was to go on Medical Missions, extending her expertise in nursing and her passion for health care into community service.

This led her to follow another path, as a public servant. Very early on, before “Women’s Rights” became a rallying cry, she recognized that the political arena seemed to be reserved for men, to the complete exclusion of women.

As a political novice, she threw her hat in the ring and ran for municipal councilor in 1966, becoming the first woman to ever run for office in the history of Malaybalay. She won and garnered the highest number of votes. She served the community in her capacity as Councilor for 20 years. She shattered the glass ceiling by opening the door for other talented women to run for office after her.

Her political acumen morphed into a leadership role with the Girl Scouts of the Philippines Malaybalay Chapter, serving as president and eventually as lifetime member. She believed in molding young girls to become confident young women and future leaders.

In addition to her nursing career and political service, Vicenta was also a successful businessperson. She co-owned and managed various businesses and establishments including local rice farms and became sole owner of these after her husband passed away. The businesses thrived under her guidance, some of which are still operating today.

Throughout her life in Malaybalay, she was a member of the Bethel Baptist Church, her strong faith paramount to the decisions she made the way she lived her life – a nurse pioneer, a family person, a public servant, a businessperson and a champion for women. (Red Robin P. Babanto/ College of Nursing)

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