Nursing retention officer in Riyadh immerses self to projects beneficial to the needy


For her, to be successful is to be helpful, caring, and constructive – and making everyone he touches a little bit better. Riyadh-based Cheryll de Guzman-Mortela is not only working in the four corners of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSHRC) as nursing retention officer, she is also actively immersing herself in helping organizations in the Philippines that help the youths and helping her kabayans in the Kingdom through financial literacy training so they won’t go back home empty-handed. 

Mortela has already spent almost two decades of her life living and working abroad. She also became one of the brains of the Saudi Cardiac Nurses Group in Saudi which aims to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases in Saudi Arabia. 

Get to know her more with our Q&A with her. 

Tell us more about yourself. 

I started my career year 2005 in KFSHRC as a staff nurse in Cardiovascular Telemetry Unity. Almost four years after, they started mentoring me to be the assistant head nurse, which was made official in 2010. They then asked me to try working as the acting retention officer for at least three months, and then the rest is history. 

I spent three years in Taiwan as a company nurse, but to my surprise, I had more time working as a factory worker than a nurse. 

I considered the highlight of my career when I proposed that Cardiovascular Nursing should have a working group in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With this proposal, I became one of the brains of the Saudi Cardiac Nurses Group in KSA. 

I am also part of the financial literacy program campaign to help Filipinos not to go home empty-handed. We coach them on how to build a solid financial foundation and to invest first on their financial knowledge. 

Working in Saudi Arabia, I received the following recognitions and awards: Golden Palm Tree Award for People of Great Service 2012, Best Assistant Head Nurse for demonstrating Transformational Leadership during their Nursing Affairs Annual Excellence Awards in 2014. 

The European Society of Cardiology-Association of Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Profession (ESC-CCNAP) recognized my contribution as an influential person to increase the number of members from foreign countries like Saudi Arabia to be affiliated to the international nursing organization in 2014. 

In addition, as I divulge myself in financial literacy campaigns, the International Marketing Group has recognized by as one of the heroes in fighting poverty in 2019. 

Presently, I am collaboratively working King Abdullah Humanitarian Foundation as the point of contact to facilitate health awareness programs in the Kingdom which include blood donation drives, health promotion such as vaccination, smoking cessation campaigns, promoting healthy lifestyle, among others. 

Why did you choose to work overseas? 

Of course, like many others, the main reason why I opted to work overseas was to give my family a better life. Surprisingly, when I came to Saudi Arabia my opportunities were unlimited. It opened many doors for me to be part of a charity organization where we help those less fortunate kabayans. 

I am now one of the lead persons for the Healing Hands Foundation which is devoted to helping the youths in the Philippines. A few of our undertakings include sponsoring the rebuilding of Daanbantayan National High School in Cebu and distributing about 2,500 school supplies to the school, conducted a series of medical missions at SOS Children’s Village in Bataan and at GRACES in Quezon. 

What were your previous jobs? 

After graduating from college, I have been a medical representative for nearly a decade. Then I finally moved to Taiwan to work as a company nurse. After finishing my work contract, I came back to the Philippines to fulfill my American dream. But as the processing took long, I applied at St. Luke’s Medical Centre. 

Fate geared my path and took me to the Kingdom when I inadvertently met the Program Director of Cardiovascular Nursing from KFSHRC at Robinson’s Galleria in 2004. 

What do you like about your work? 

I am making a difference in someone’s life. I may no longer work directly with patients, but knowing that you are making the employees valued, then it will have spillover effect to our patients as they will give their best care when you keep them happy at work. I acknowledge that there are many times that are challenging to handle their various issues considering our diverse workforce, I praise God as He equipped me with wisdom, skills, and emotional intelligence to handle with grace. 

I love being a nurse and I am truly proud of my chosen profession. And every day, serving others is what makes me out of bed.

What is your advice to your kabayans abroad who are currently struggling? 

Please focus on the main reason why we need to sacrifice to be away from our family members. Always make that as your motivator to be at your best. Do not forget to pay for yourself first, so you place something for your future as no one will do that for you. Surround yourself with people with a positive outlook in life as those people will help you to be a better version of yourself. Take some actions today that your future self will thank you for. As our OFW journey is just temporary, save something so you can grow old with style. 

Most of all, in all that you, do it with passion. Do it from the heart and do it for the glory of God. 

This story has been featured on the third issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at


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