Meet our new nurses

The HSC welcomed new nurses from Italy and Romania in September 2016. Meet the new members of the team and see what they have to say about life, and work, in Northern Ireland!

Stefano Stillivato
I’m Stefano Stillivato and I come from Italy. I arrived in Northern Ireland on 16th September 2016. I can say I have been stricken by the warm welcome and also the beautiful landscapes seen from the bus.

Leaving my family has been the most difficult.  I believe the Southern Trust has supported me in settling in. 

I would recommend the HSC to someone who would like a new and stimulating work experience.


Agnese Dolis
My name is Agnese Dolis and I come from Florence, Italy.  I arrived in Northern Ireland on 16th September 2016. My impressions after a month are positive although I don’t know many people from here yet.  This is one of the reasons I am looking forward to starting work in the hospital. 

Coming here has been hard because I had to spend these first weeks in lessons, so I haven’t had the chance to move around and feel part of this country.  I know I have to be patient.

I think the Trust has welcomed us and supported us during these weeks.  They have listened to us and tried to do their best to help us.  I definitely would recommend coming here because it is a great chance to improve our knowledge about nursing and life in general. Staying here could be one of the greatest experiences of our lives.


Gabrielle Risi
Hello, my name is Gabriele and I come from Naples in the South of Italy. I arrived in Northern Ireland on 16th September and my first impressions were positive because the weather was good, people were friendly so I thought this will be a good place to live.

The most difficult thing here is learning the different methods of documentation but with the support of the HSC everything will go good.

The Trust has supported me and my colleagues perfectly.  They explain everything to us and they follow up every problem.  I would recommend coming to work here.


Benedetta Romaneli
My name is Benedetta Romanelli, I come from Florence in Italy.  I arrived in Northern Ireland on 16th September 2016.  My first impressions were very positive and I was very enthusiastic about this experience.  

In my opinion the most difficult challenge in coming to Northern Ireland is understanding the different language.  

The Trust has been very helpful and has assisted me to make myself at home.  

At the moment I find the HSC organisation excellent.  They help me with any concerns I have.


Daiana Palestini
My name is Daiana Palestini and I come from Pescara in Italy.  I arrived in Northern Ireland on 16th September 2016. My first impressions were – ‘WOW!!’ – Because of its natural and rural landscapes with every shade of green

‘What are they talking about?’ – Because obviously this is another language and the beginning it is difficult to understand.

Regarding the Trust and its members, I believe they are very kind and helpful and after a month they are still helping us with accommodation, documentation, the bank and so on. 

At the minute I recommend the HSC as a place to work because the environment is welcoming, here you have all your rights and they are respected.  The main thing is you can practice as a nurse in a right and professional way.


Pasquale Cinquegrana
My Name is Pasquale and I come from Frattaminore in the province of Naples in Italy.  I arrived in Northern Ireland on 16th September 2016.  My first impressions were positive because the place is very beautiful and the people are very welcoming.  

The most difficult thing has been leaving my family at home and not having very good English.  

The Trust has given us the opportunity to stay in the accommodation for 2 months and a course for IELTS preparation.  I would recommend it for now.


Maria Cristina Ferri
Hi, I am Mariacristina Ferri and I come from Bari in the South of Italy.  I arrived in Northern Ireland on the 16th September 2016.  

From the beginning we were very busy as we started the clinical induction.  During this induction several teachers talked about vital signs, nutrition, dementia/delirium and communication.  It was useful in order to help improve our English but I would have preferred something that would help us understand our future work on the wards.  

We have had a lot of help setting in such as assistance with opening bank accounts, GPs and National insurance.  The most difficult thing is the language as they talk too fast here in my opinion.  It is just about time, we can improve our English.


Maria Rita Pennacchio
My name is Maria Rita Pennacchio. I come from Abruzzo in Italy.  I arrived in Northern Ireland on the 16th September 2016. 

My first impressions have been positive, I met very kind people that help me to improve my knowledge and orientate me.  

The most difficult thing has been leaving my family because we are very united, but I love a challenge and for this reason I decided to come here.  

The Trust has provided us with accommodation in their hospital for 2 months to help us settle in.  Now for me, everything is beautiful and I can now tell that the HSC has every requisite as regards the organisation and the quality of Health, furthermore, also from what I understand it is very focused on good communication which is very important to me.

Erika Fortuna
My name is Erika Fortuna.  I come from Sora near to Rome, Italy.  I arrived in Northern Ireland on 16th September 2016.  When I arrived my first impressions have been positive, there are beautiful landscapes, the people are very friendly but the weather is not very nice!

For me it was very difficult to leave my family, my friends, the Italian food and my pets.  I love new experiences and I believe this is a good opportunity to improve my knowledge and for a good career in nursing.

One of the biggest challenges for me is the language but the Trust is helping me out with an English course.  Also they are paying for our accommodation for 2 months. I recommend the HSC if you want a good work experience.


Catalina Sarbu
My name is Catalina Sarbu and I am from Bucharest, Romania. I arrive in Northern Ireland on 16 September 2016.

When the bus stopped in Belfast on Friday evening I saw a sign with my name on it. I had received an email days before, so I knew a gentleman would came to pick me up but there were 2 people there waiting for me. Immediately I realised that the other person was the lady who had emailed me. I thought: “ They really care about me” and for the first time in that day, I had the feeling that I will not be alone.

The most difficult was leaving my family and my friends behind, but I realised soon that they will be with me wherever I will be.

Starting with the welcome letter and candies found in my room when I arrived, basic food for a few days, appointments for obtaining my National Insurance Number and opening a bank account, the fact that a nice person went with me, all the help that I still receive now, after almost 1 month since, anytime I need them.

Based on what I have seen so far I would definitely recommend the HSC as a place to work - yes!


Nayara Ferreira
My name is Nayara Ferreira and I am from Florence in Italy.  I arrived in Northern Ireland on 16th September.

My first impressions were that the weather is much colder than Italy of course but until now the weather has been nice (we are in October)!  There have been many dry, sunny days so far which is not always what people think.  However, when it starts to rain, it rains all day!

The people here are friendly and very helpful.  When I have needed anything, the people responsible for us from the Trust always try to help.

I would have liked that our days so far had been organised in a different way for organising better time for me to study my English.

The most important thing is the accent in N.I is strong and at the beginning can be difficult to understand but the people here are aware of this and they are very patient with us, speak more slowly and are happy to repeat things for me if I don’t understand.


Alessia Bartucca
My name is Alessia Bartucca and I come from Latina, a city near Rome in Italy.  I am 23 years old.  I arrived in Northern Ireland on the 16th September 2016 and my first impressions were very positive about everything, for instance, the support on our arrival at the accommodation, the induction programme and the English preparation classes.

The most difficult thing in coming to NI has been leaving my family and friends in Italy and also the preparation of all the documents requested.

The Trust supported me settling in mostly with the accommodation for 2 months but also supported us with important things, for example opening bank accounts and GP registration.

I recommend the HSC as a very nice place to work base on my little experience here in 1 month.


Nicola Stoppini 

My name is Nicola Stoppini and I come from a little town near Perugia.

I arrived in Northern Ireland, 1 month ago on Friday 16 September.

My first impressions were that the people are very friendly and welcoming. I do not feel like a stranger here.

The most difficult thing is trying to get used to the Derry accent and the many local Derry sayings. The people speak a bit fast sometimes, but I am getting used to this. I miss my parents and family, but I do not miss my country as much as it is very welcoming here.

The Trust and the people working within the Trust have given me and the other Italian nurses a lot of support. We are all settling in very well. The clinical induction is very interesting and relevant.  Our English teach is very good, he is very engaging and funny and makes learning easy.

I have already been telling friends back home to consider coming here to be a nurse. I’m telling them that life is much less stressful and chaotic here. I would definitely recommend Northern Ireland and Derry as a place to live and work.

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