It is a bright Monday morning and a lithe young Filipino lady in blue scrubs threads her way in big purposeful steps toward the door just ahead.

She is on her way to the Stroke Unit of the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland.

The lady in a hurry is Lidith Bernardo Perez, Registered Nurse.

What is so remarkable about this Filipino nurse is that last year, 2014, at age 46, she obtained her license in the State of Maryland to administer to the sick.

Lidith graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines in 1988 with a degree in economics.

She also has a master’s degree in economics from the same university.

Lidith began her quest to becoming an RN about four years ago when her youngest daughter started school.

She decided to take up nursing, the closest she could come to her own family’s chosen careers, three of whom are in the medical field.

Her father, Dr. Pons Bernardo, is a urologist.

Her mother, Dr. Edith Lansigan Bernardo, who passed away in 2013, was an internist.

Her youngest sister Joy is a reconstructive surgeon.

Was it difficult to go back to school after being out for more than two decades, with three kids in tow?

This is Lidith’s answer: “I love challenges. I was fully aware it would be a struggle to go back to studying, attending classes on a completely different subject. And at the same time taking care of the needs of my growing and demanding children, then ages 11, 8 and 5.”

“Luckily,” Lidith added, “my husband Carlos absorbed most of the parenting so I was able to hit the books again.”

Lidith took the pre-requisite courses the first year.

Then she enrolled full-time in the two-year nursing program at Montgomery College, a mere two miles from their home in Germantown, Maryland.

Today, Lidith has found her calling.

She finds taking care of her stroke patients very fulfilling, albeit very physically tiring, especially on the legs.

She abides by the credo of her hospital which is to demonstrate God’s care by improving the health of the people and the community through the ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.

In the not too distant future, Lidith plans to do clinics and/or teaching.

She hopes in the years ahead to get the chance to apply her first love for economics to nursing so her career would have come full circle.

(Editor’s note: Ellen Lansigan Elphick is a longtime FR contributor from Orlando, Florida and the historian of the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial. She is a law graduate of the University of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Bar. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

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