Thursday, December 22, 2011

Usapang diskriminasyon sa trabaho ng mga transgender na nurses

Sa mga nakaraang mga araw, nakatanggap ako ng isang liham mula sa isang transgender nurse na may concern tungkol sa maaring discrimination na matanggap nya bilang isang nurse na papasok na sa RNHEALS Program ng DOH.

Ito ang aming naging palitan ng pag-uusap. Ibabahagi ko ito para malaman ng aking mga followers at readers na baka nakaka-experience din ng ganitong klaseng diskriminasyon sa kanilang opisina o eskwelahan.

***
[SPICE]
I am a transsexual and 45 years old. Do you think I still can be under the program of Rn heals? I already challenged the screening exam. I did Psycho test today. I still have to undergo the interview by the chief nurse and then the panel interview which is composed of the higher echelons of the hospital.

I am afraid that I might be discriminated because I am 45(2nd courser) and a sexually reassigned person (male to female). Are there qualifications? I do not think there is an age limit because it is not stated in the ad of RN HEALS. 

Please help me just in case I will be eliminated because of age and being a transsexual. RN Heals is not for hiring permanent staff nurses but a program to alleviate the deplorable plight of unemployed nurses. 

Regards.
Spice

[AKO]
Dear Spice,

The RNHEALS 2 program does not provide age limit nor preference for gender identity, if you will be eliminated because of this qualifications, please immediately tell me so I can take actions. But I would like to inform you ahead of time that RNHEALS 2 prioritizes their former "volunteers" to be part of the program.

Don't hesitate to email us the result of your application. Thank you!

Best,

Alvin Dakis

[SPICE]
Nrs. Alvin

Thank you very much for your immediate response. I did volunteering by the way.

I will update you with my application. I feel relieved, at least there is someone who understands my predicament.  Mabuhay ka.

Thank you again.

[AKO]
Hi Spice,

Yes, I'm one of those who advocates for the anti-discrimination bill against LGBTs especially among transpinay. You may also report to me some abuses done to transgender/transsexual women in the country especially among nurses.

Thank you!

[SPICE]
Nrs. Alvin,

Thank you very much for the moral support you gave me. The confidence I had when I underwent the initial interview of the chief nurse was from you. There was supposed to be a panel interview but since the hospital was trying to hasten the process of RN heals, the Medical Director appointee just welcome us all and told us we are already in the program. 

I am now under the the program Rn Heals. I hope that it will open doors for me in the immediate future. To be an employee in the said hospital is close to impossible since there is an age limit to hiring permanent staff nurses. I will just take advantage of the knowledge and skills I will acquire in the program. 

I am just wondering what uniform should I wear? Since my nursing college days, I was asked to wear female uniform plus nurse's cap. And When I underwent training, I was wearing cap too. What do you think? We were told that we are going to wear the prescribed uniform of the hospital to avoid discrimination. We will all be like and treated as real staff nurses of the hospital. And that means we need to have our uniforms done.I do not want to be contemptuous by deciding according to my whim. This is the reason I am seeking your opinion. I will ask the chief nurse on Monday though.

I will keep you posted.

Thank you again. Have a relaxing weekend.

Regards,
Spice

[AKO]
Dear Spice,

Thank you for updating me. And it's great you got admitted to the program. With regards to your clothing, I encourage you to wear the clothing that best represents you. If you are very comfortable wearing female uniform, then go for it because you have all the rights to do so. 

Best regards,

Alvin

[SPICE]
A friend of mine heard that one of the senior nurses was reacting why was I allowed to wear a female uniform with a nurse's cap. The senior nurse retorted, I should present myself accdg to my biological gender. She was even questioning why I was able to penetrate the training program where I was enrolled prior to RN heals. The chief nurse already approved my application and even the oic of the hospital didn't say anything when I had a brief interview with him. So, I am pretty confident that she can't eliminate me.

Do you think I have all the right to wear female uniform since I am a sexually reassigned person? I am just wondering. Though, I know I have all the right because there is no law in black and white stating that transgenders are not allowed to assume the role female nurses. 

Thank you again for the encouragement. I will simply try to learn what is to be learnt, to hone my nursing skills, widen my nursing knowledge and improve my attitude.

I already told some of the staff nurses that I have a friend from DOH who is very supportive of me. An advocate of LGTB and a thinking nurse with a purpose. Enjoy and lazy your Sunday night Nars Alvin. I hope to meet you in person./spice

[AKO]
Dear Spice,

Thank you for your continued correspondence. As a person who underwent SRS and under the international treaties where Philippines is a signatory, one cannot discriminate a member of the LBGT according to his or her sexual orientation & gender identity. So just warn them about that. And if they do not believe what I am telling you, we can make this as a test case which we can win. 

I have your back.

***

Iyan ang huli naming pag-uusap dated December 12, 2012. Natutuwa ako't pinag-kakatiwalaan nya ako at sa akin dumulog at humingi ng advice. Patunay din ito na sa ating propesyon, marami pa ring mga hindi edukado tungkol sa sexual orientation & gender identity at ito dapat ay nirerespeto at hindi dapat ito batayan upang matanggal o hindi matanggap sa trabaho o paaralan ang isang tao.

Nakakalungkot lang na may ilang pwersa ang gustong tanggalin ang Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity (SOGI) bilang isa sa mga importanteng laman ng Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB) na sya namang nakabinbin ngayon sa Kamara. Ang bill na ito ay pinangungunahan ni Rep. Teddy Casino ng Bayan Muna. 

Para sa grupong (kagaya na lang ng CBCP) naglalayong tanggalin ang probisyon ng SOGI bilang isa sa mga rason na kung saan ang isang tao ay madiskrimina, ang Anti-Discrimination Bill ay nagiging 'discriminating' na sa ilang sektor ng lipunan, ang mga Lesbyana, Bakla, Bisexual at Transgender (na kung saan, kasama si Spice na sumulat) sa akin.

Importante sa ating mga nurses na hindi mag-discriminate ng ating mga pasyente o mga kasamahan sa propesyon sa kadahilanang sila ay mga LGBTs dahil hindi tayo makakapagbigay ng sapat na pag-aalaga kapag biased na ang ating judgment. Sa ating propesyon, tayo ay tinuruan na mag-alaga sa lahat at umintindi sa kanilang kalagayan, na magbigay ng karampatang lunas sa kahit kaaway natin. Gayun din sana sa ating mga kasamahan, hangga't nagagawa nya ng matiwasay ang kanyang trabaho, bigyan natin sila ng kalayaang ihayag ang kanilang gender identity.

Muli, ang SOGI ay hindi maaring gamitin laban sa isang LGBT upang hindi matanggap sa trabaho o paaralan. Kapag may mga ganito kayong karanasan at gusto nyong matulungan namin kayo, maari kayong magpadala sa akin ng e-mail sa pamamagitan ng blog na ito o mag-comment.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Isang Espeyal na Pamaskong Hatid ng Globe Blackberry Promo!

Marami sa ating mga nurses ang hindi nakakadalo sa Noche Buena ng ating mga pamilya dahil tayo ay on-duty sa mga ospital. Mahirap man pero kelangan gawin. Lumbay at lungkot man ang kasama, paglilingkod sa taumbayan pa rin ang unang iniisip.

Sa mga panahong 'to, may isa rin na hindi nagpapahinga kapag Pasko at nagbibigay ng magagandang pamasko sa ating lahat - ang Globe na may handa na namang espesyal  ngayon, ang GLOBE BLACKBERRY CHRISTMAS OFFER! 

Alam n'yo bang nagbibigay ang Globe ng LIBRENG BLACKBERRY 8520 UNIT sa kanilang PLAN 599? Ito lang naman ang berry na masarap at libre pero 'di nakakain. Sa panahon ng lumbay at lungkot ng mga nurses (at lahat) na hindi makakapag-Pasko sa kanilang pamilya, heto ang pinakamagandang pamasko. Ako kaya kelan mareregaluhan ng ganito? ^_^

Alam n'yo bang hanggang ngayon, halos lahat ng kasama ko may Blackberry na, ako wala pa din kasi namamahalan ako. Pero nung na-encounter ko nga itong promo ng Globe eh napa-isip din ako. Ang mura kasi. Akalain 'nyo ba namang P599.00 lang eh may libreng Blackberry unit ka na tapos UNLIMITED INTERNET ACCESS (BIS) ka pa! Unli-FB at Twitter ito! Sa mga taong gaya ko na kaagapay na ang social media sa personal na buhay, adbokasiya at trabaho, ang plan na'to ay panalong-panalo! Kung reregaluhan mo ba naman sila ng ganito ngayong Pasko, aba'y tanggal ang lumbay 'nya at kahit asang lupalop pa 'sya ng bansa, garantisadong konektado 'sya sa inyo!

Dati na akong taga-tangkilik ng Globe at alam kong maganda ang mga services nila. I used to have multiple accounts sa ibang networks but hindi maganda ang services nila especially to some of their packages kaya ngayon, I maintained only one network, and that's Globe. Now, that they have affordable plans like this, and having to get free Blackberry units, I don't think you'll disagree with me saying this is such a special and amazing offer!

So, ano ang mga kakailanganin kung mag-nanais akong kumuha ng package na ito? Ito ang mga kailangan mong dokumento:
  1. Proof of Identification: kahit anong ID na issued ng gobyerno, pasaporte o ID ng iyong kumpanya,
  2. Proof of Billing: ito naman ay ang Utility Bills mo sa kuryente, tubig o maari din namang computerized pay slip mula sa inyong kumpanya,
  3. Proof of Financial Capacity: ito naman ay ang mga dokumentong patunay na maari kang makapagbayad katulad ng ITR o Income Tax Return (BIR Form 1700 ito para sa mga empleyado), maari din ang latest Certificate of Employment na kasamang nakalagay ang iyong sweldo.
Pero sa kahit anong promo, may guidelines din dapat ito. Kagaya nang dapat ikaw ay:
  • Nasa disi-otso anyos (18 years old) pataas,
  • May Local Billing Address ka, o yung address na kung saan pwede nilang ipadala ang monthly bill mo,
  • Sa mga empleyado, at least nasa P15,000 ang iyong buwanang sweldo,
  • ay isang Pilipino (maaring magdagdag ng karagdagang impormasyon at dokumento para naman sa hindi mga Pilipino), at syempre
  • Contact number (landline o mobile) para madali kang matawagan para mag-beripika ng mga impormasyon mo.
Kita mo naman kung gaano nila pinadali para sa'yo ang makakuha ng promo na'to diba? Kaya sa mga kasama kong nurses at iba pang patuloy ang paglilingkod ngayong kapaskuhan ito na dapat ang ultimate Christmas wishlist n'yo! Sigurado akong magiging doble-inspired ka sa pagtatrabaho at konektado ka pa sa pamilya at lahat ng FB at Twitter friends, ito ang bagay sa'yo!
Kung interesado kayong malaman kung paano makaka-avail ng promo na 'to, maari kayong bumisita sa pinakamalapit na Globe stores o tumawag sa kanilang sales hotline sa (02)730-1010 (6AM-10PM) o via online www.site.globe.com.ph
Masaya ang pasko kasama ang Globe. At sa Blackberry 8520, mas liligaya ang pasko 'nyo! 
Enjoy your Globe Postpaid YOUR WAY!

****
Meron ding iba pang mga ino-offer ang Globe para naman doon sa may gusto ng iba pa:
BlackBerry Curve 8520
FREE at UnliSurf Combo Plan 599 with unlimited mobile surfing
BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300
FREE at UnliSurf Combo Plan 999 with:
•  unlimited mobile surfing
•  P400 consumable amount
•  1 freebie from A to C, E

BlackBerry Curve 9360
FREE at UnliSurf Combo Plan 1799 with:
•  unlimited mobile surfing
•  P1,200 consumable amount
•  3 freebies from A to C, E

BlackBerry Bold 9780
FREE at UnliSurf Combo Plan 2499 with:
•  unlimited mobile surfing
•  P1,900 consumable amount
•  5 freebies from A to C, E

Freebie choices:
A – 10 min calls and 200 SMS to Globe/TM
B – 5 min calls and 25 SMS to other networks
C – 20 mins IDD calls and 10 ISMS to 10 destinations**
E – Unlimited calls and text to one Globe/TM number
** US, Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Casino proposes increase in salary in nurses


Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011 by Rafael Alonso

Lawmakers today moved to increase the salary of government nurses in a bid to attract thousands of fresh nursing graduates to stay in the country and serve their fellow Filipinos.

House Bill 5230 will upgrade the minimum salary grade level of nurses in public hospitals and other health institutions from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15. 

The authors of the bill are Reps. Teddy Casiño and Neri Javier Colmenares (Party-list Bayan Muna), Rafael Mariano (Party-list, Anakpawis), Emmi de Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan (Party-list, Gabriela), Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan) and Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teachers).

"The bill will rectify the gross neglect of these public servants and encourage them to work in the country instead of going abroad," Casiño said.

Casiño said when Congress passed Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act in 2002, public nurses all over the country thought it was to be a reprieve from their long sentence of inhumanely low wages.

"It was proven to be an empty promise, with the government failing to allocate funds for the law’s implementation," Casiño said.

Casiño said there is a shortage of working nurses in the country despite the mushrooming of nursing schools and the large number of nursing graduates.

Citing a report of the Alliance of Health Workers, Casiño said nurses who are supposed to receive at least P24,887, which is equivalent to Salary Grade 15 based on the Nursing Act of 2002, receive only P15,649, equivalent to the amount being received by those in Salary Grade 11. 

Casiño said while the Department of Health and Department of Budget and Management assured what nurses get would be as good as what is in the Philippine Nursing Act, the salary grade of public hospital nurses, however, will rise only up to Salary Grade 11 although the Nursing Act provided it should be Salary Grade 15.

The bill to be known as "Government Nurses' Salary Upgrading Act of 2011" will provide adequate remuneration for health workers to enhance general welfare and attract and retain its rightful share of talents with the end in view of fulfilling the state policy of providing essential health services to all Filipinos.

The bill provides that the present minimum salary grade of government nurses (Nurse 1) shall be upgraded from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15. Likewise, salary grade levels of those occupying higher positions shall be adjusted accordingly.

HIV and a Crisis of Political Will


A lifeline for thousands of Filipinos who are affected by HIV and AIDS has just been cut. Last week, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the Philippines’ biggest funder of the Philippines’ HIV and AIDS programs, announced that it decided to cancel its next round of funding. 

This is an alarming development for the Philippines, one of the only seven countries worldwide that is experiencing an accelerating HIV epidemic. The latest HIV and AIDS Registry (September 2011) recorded 8 new HIV infections a day, a steep increase from the one case a day that was reported four years ago.   

The immediate implication of this unprecedented cancellation is that half of existing HIV prevention services and 60% of life-saving treatment, care and support programs for Filipinos living with HIV and AIDS would have no funding in the coming years. Just when thousands of Filipinos are at greater risk of HIV infection, the Philippines is expected to cut down its HIV and AIDS interventions.

But perhaps the current situation reflects a bigger crisis. Prior to the Global Fund cancellation, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, who chairs the Philippine National AIDS Council, dismissed the concentrated HIV epidemic that has been noted by his own department’s epidemiological unit and claimed, contrary to what the evidence is saying, that the country has a good HIV program. 

When pressed by legislators during the DOH budget hearing why the government is not increasing its budget on HIV and AIDS, Sec. Ona was quick to state that Global Fund is big and that it will always be there. He said that the current allocation to address the epidemic, an insufficient amount that has gone down from P81M in 2009 to P65M annually beginning 2010, is already enough. 

He likewise dismissed the concentrated epidemic that is happening among men who have sex with men and transgenders, sex workers and drug users, which indicate a complete rejection of existing evidence that curbing the HIV epidemic among these key populations would actually prevent an HIV epidemic in the general population.

With the Global Fund cut and the apparent denialism of Sec. Ona, the country is courting an HIV crisis.

While the rest of the stakeholders are already mobilizing to address the epidemic, the political leadership of the country response is dragging its feet and pretending that there’s no problem. There is a momentum for community mobilization that could be harnessed by the government, but these initiatives could only do so much without the commitment of the political leadership to fulfill - and fulfill with religious fervor - its mandate to protect and promote the welfare of its people. 

If the government wants to avert a full-blown HIV epidemic, then it must address the crisis of political will that Sec. Ona represents. We call on President Noynoy Aquino to keep in line his alter ego and to remind him of the promise of the Aquino administration to the Filipino people - that we, the citizens, are the government’s boss, and that under this administration, no one would be left behind. 

We urge President Aquino to immediately set up a Presidential Task Force on HIV and AIDS that would address the gaps in the response, initiate reforms in the Philippine National AIDS Council, and mobilize local governments to perform their mandate in delivering crucial HIV and AIDS services. We also call on the President to set up an emergency fund to immediately scale up prevention, treatment, care and support services and forestall an HIV crisis.  

---------------------
The Network to Stop AIDS in the Philippines (NSAP) is composed of HIV and AIDS civil society organizations all over the Philippines. Its member-organizations include Action for Health Initiatives (ACHIEVE), Alagad Mindanao, B-Change Foundation, Babae Plus, Cebu Plus, CrossBreeds Plus, Gayon, Health Action Information Network (HAIN), Institute for Social Studies and Action (ISSA), National Federation of Filipinos Living with HIV and AIDS (NaFFWA), Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Inc. (PAFPI), Pinoy Plus, The Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare (PNGOC), Red Whistle, Sisters Plus, Take the Test, TLF Share, United Western Visayas, and Vida Vivo Zamboanga. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

ICN Congress 2013: Website and Call for Abstracts Launched


25th Quadrennial Congress will be held in one of the world‘s `most liveable` cities,- Melbourne, Australia, 18-23 May 2013

GenevaSwitzerland 28 November, 2011. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is pleased to release the Call for Abstracts and launch the website for its 25th Quadrennial Congress and CNR. Headlined with the theme Equity and Access to Health Care, Congress will take place in MelbourneAustralia from 18-23 May 2013.  Instructions for submitting abstracts for the scientific programme and details on the themes to be addressed can be accessed at www.icn2013.ch. The deadline for abstract submission is 14 September 2012.

Inspiring plenary sessions will be dedicated to exploring the Congress theme, with particular focus on gender equity, the global epidemic of non-communicable diseases and the tension between personal and societal responsibility for health. Featured main sessions will offer the most recent expertise on wellness and prevention, the nursing workforce, ethics/human rights, clinical care and patient safety. Themes for abstract submissions (concurrent sessions, symposia and posters) will address these issues plus developments in nursing education, disasters and conflict, care systems and access, eHealth, regulation and the history of nursing. The Congress will also be the venue for ICN Network meetings.

To share your ideas and expertise you are invited to submit an abstract for a concurrent session, a symposium or a poster. The abstract submission guidelines are now available on the Congress website: www.icn2013.ch.The online abstract submission system will be live as of 16 April 2012.

The Council of National Representatives, ICN’s global governing body, will also convene in Melbourne just prior to the Congress, from 16-19 May 2013. Congress participants who are members of ICN member associations will be able to observe global nursing leaders identify the profession’s priorities and future directions.

To keep up with all the latest information on the Congress programme and related events, visit the Congress website at www.icn2013.ch

Friday, November 25, 2011

Carlos Celdran To Hold “Rock Hard For RH” On Saturday


RH Advocate Carlos Celdran has released a public invitation today for “Rock Hard for RH”, to be held on Saturday at the Occupy for RH camp at SB Park across the South Wing Gate of Congress, as a reaction to the recent anti-RH delay tactics by Representatives Raul Daza, Pablo P. Garcia, Sergio Apostol and Amado Bagatsing.

“It is long past time that we called these people out on the harm they are doing to the Filipino family,” said Celdran, calling their tactics “underhanded, shameless and beyond reproach.”

Rep. Daza last Tuesday spent an hour discussing boxing rules in his privilege speech, and Cong. Bagatsing interpellated.

“Come to the Occupy for RH camp for a weekend of RH games, trivia, music and demanding more from our government. It’ll be a night of fun games, intelligent discussions and a webshow,” added Celdran. He also invited pro-RH advocates to visit the Occupy for RH camp themselves.

Occupy for RH is a campaign of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network and other RH advocates to camp out at SB Park and hold daily demonstrations at the South Wing Gate of Congress calling on legislators to vote on the RH Bill within the year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The 2011 Annual Manila Pride March



The 2011 Annual Manila Pride March will be this December 3, 2011!

Task Force Pride, a non-profit network of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) groups will organize the 17th Annual Pride March in Manila. The aim of the march is to gather different LGBT groups, allies and individuals in solidarity, as well as provide positive visibility to the community.

This year's theme, "Pride of the Orient", recalls the community's achievements with regard to advancing LGBT human rights, such as... organizing the first pride march in Asia in 1994 and the formation of Ladlad party list, the only LGBT-oriented party list in the world, and extensive HIV/AIDS Awareness campaigns nationwide .

"Pride of the Orient" calls on LGBT Filipinos to reclaim these milestones and look forward to more victories they've yet to achieve.

For Organizations, please confirm in this link:

 
If you have difficulties with the links provided, please reply to this email with your Name, Organization's Name, and Contact Number.
 
Please take note of the following dates:
 
November 26, 2011
General Assembly
MCC QC LGBT Center
3/F 56 Mindanao Avenue, Project 6, Quezon City
 
December 3, 2011
Pride March
Meeting Place: Remedios Circle, Malate, Manila
Registration: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Parade: 4:15pm
Program: 5:00pm
 
Routes, Program, and Pre-Parade Venue will be discussed on the General Assembly. We would be needing volunteers as well for the registration and marshalls.
 
Please check the TFP page regularly for updates on the program line-up and the venue. Thanks, and see you all on December 3, 2011 at the Pride March!

For more information you can visit this FB Event Page:

Visit the official website:


or SMS us at 09163089903 (Globe), 09333049795 (Sun) to Raffy Aquino.

Monday, November 07, 2011

[Vital Signs Column] Nurses & RH

October 16-31, 2011 Issue
Vital Signs, is the FIRST newspaper for the medical community. It caters to doctors, health workers and other healthcare professionals, bringing them the latest health news, scientific updates, as well as opinions, and commentaries on current issues impacting healthcare delivery in the country. You can read Alvin Dakis' columns on nursing & social issues in every Vital Signs newspaper published every 1st & 15th of the month. www.fame.ph 

The 2nd Millennium Convention of nurses hosted by the Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders & Advocates International was concluded this October 8-9, 2011 at Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon City that talked about the role of nurses in reproductive & sexual health. Reproductive & sexual health nursing is an old practice of nurses but was not given proper attention nor elevated in specialty practice. The convention gave that emphasis & opened a more promising field of expertise for Filipino nurses.

Nurses have been quiet in the issue of reproductive & sexual health here in Philippines but having to witness a lot of inequity in accessing to such services, early & unplanned pregnancies, contracting of sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV & AIDS and even on seeing clients with many inaccurate information regarding their reproductive & sexual health. 

The convention talked about how nurses can practice in reproductive & sexual health and the impact each nurse makes in the community if he or she educates. But how can nurses really work in this field?

Service Providers nurses are service providers having to provide family planning & reproductive health services to individuals & couples. Nurses can provide FP services like injectables and to some extent, prescription of medicines related to their patient's conditions. Nurses in the US operate their own nurse-led clinics and prescribe medications to their patients.

Educators - one of the expertise of nurses is to become health educators in many areas such as schools, communities and clinical settings. In providing health education covering reproductive & sexual health, it is necessary that nurses should be trained in handling very sensitive information of their clients, provide gender-sensitive and rights-based responses. In this aspect, I believe that nurses should undergo a post-graduate training on gender, population & development.

Counselling - now this avenue is good only when nurses are trained how to communicate well with their clients especially talking to young people. Nurses handling clients undergoing special counselling needs such as those newly-diagnosed with HIV should also receive peer education and pre & post test counselling training. Nurses handling such cases should also be able to provide an enabling environment for their clients to trust them and for nurses to maintain their integrity in their professional relationships with their clients.

Research - nurses in reproductive & sexual health would need to venture into research as well since many of the fields in this need scientific data gathering to monitor the progress of each individual's case. 

Many conservative nurses might find providing these services unethical or some might refuse giving these services. Ethical standards in nursing practice have been delineated by the Code of Ethics for Filipino Nurses by the Philippine Board of Nursing. 

The Code of Ethics Article 2 Section 4 states that nurses should respect individual's values, customs and spiritual beliefs and that individual freedom to make rational and unconstrained decisions shall also be respected by nurses. For an individual to make sound, rational, and unconstrained decisions, the nurse should provide unbiased and complete information about what the patient will undergo and what the patient should know about his/her condition. It is the role of the nurse to provide age-appropriate & taking into consideration the level of comprehension of his/her client to optimize transfer of information.

Nurses may venture into organizing RH clinics/centers where they are the ones managing and rendering services. Nurses may also form counselling centers for clients that needed it. Nurses may become health educators in schools and companies. There are avenues for nurses in reproductive & sexual health practice. 

There are a lot of women dying from childbirth complications, many early & unplanned pregnancies, many people needing appropriate sexuality education especially to young people, many people getting sick and contracts HIV without them knowing it, many people do not know how to space their children and how to plan for their families, many young people do now know their sexuality & remain confuse, and many people are still thinking like they are in the dark ages. There are many rooms for nurses to do in the communities.

***
By the way, I would like to thank all our beloved speakers who shared their time & expertise in the convention. I would like to thank Drs. Esperanza Cabral and Sylvia Claudio, Rep. Risa Hontiveros, Ms. Elizabeth Angsioco and Ms. Grace Stanley who selflessly shared their knowledge and helped cleared questions about nurses giving reproductive & sexual health services. Thank you, thank you!

[Vital Signs Column] The New Face of Volunteerism

Issue 8 Vol. 1 |  October 01-15, 2011 Issue
Vital Signs, is the FIRST newspaper for the medical community. It caters to doctors, health workers and other healthcare professionals, bringing them the latest health news, scientific updates, as well as opinions, and commentaries on current issues impacting healthcare delivery in the country. You can read Alvin Dakis' columns on nursing & social issues in every Vital Signs newspaper published every 1st & 15th of the month. www.fame.ph 

It has been 10 years since I have been volunteering my services, time, and resources to the community. I remembered how I toiled hard to defend the things I advocated and having to experience grave poverty, threats and character assassination. Ten years, and still in the running.

I volunteered my services for free to people living with HIV and to those who have been newly diagnosed. I also have offered my services to help youth organizations manage & run their organizations. Having to have these things done, one would think "what has gotten into you?" But time and again I also ask that question. Why do we volunteer?

Volunteerism seemed to be a very benevolent act and an individual would need to decide for him or her self since it would require you great time, effort, talent, time and resources. But a volunteer may lend his or her time & resources either part-time or full-time. And the range of voluntary service may vary according to the advocacy.

Volunteerism is a selfless act to help those who are in need. However I think the nursing profession has started to use the term wrongly. Recently, new nurses would approach hospitals and render their free services - sounds benevolent isn't it? Wait till what happens next.
 
These nurses assume the name "volunteer nurses" since by the nature of their work in the hospitals. To add to it, some of these nurses have offered their payment in exchange for this 'volunteer act'. Seeing the opportunities of augmenting their staffing needs and at the same time receive additional pay from these desperate nurses, some hospitals now charge nurses fee for their services & to others cloak these schemes into "training programs" to justify their charges or fees. 

But I won't talk about the training fees nor the volunteer programs of the hospitals. I would like focus my column to the nurses who continue to patronage these kinds of programs, which by the way I find very exploitative. Let me elaborate on this.

Many of the nurses I asked, who volunteer their services in these hospitals, told me that the reasons why they volunteer are to:

1. Gain clinical experience. Because many of these newly registered nurses felt their evident lack of experience in clinical practice during their college years. Upon graduation & passing of the nursing boards, these nurses still felt their lack of confidence in performing basic nursing care skills. This tells us one thing, there is a problem in our current nursing education that produces these nurses.

2. Increase individual marketability. Engaging in this 'volunteer' practice would gain them not just the experience but also that paper certificate. And oh boy you'd die to get one of those. These paper certificates saying that you have given voluntary service to these institutions are thought to be their green passes to gain local employment and even work abroad. Little did these nurses know, that it has little effect to increasing one's 
"employability" and marketability. 

3. The hopes of being favored for employment. These 'volunteer' nurses also thought that volunteering to these hospitals would give them an extra boost compared to other nurses who did not volunteer in that hospital when there will be vacancy only to find out that this, similar to number 2 above would account to only such a small fraction for consideration. 

But with all these things how come the term "forced volunteerism" has been coined? Since this issue, a lot of terms have been used and this "forced volunteerism" tells us that since many hospitals implement "volunteer" programs or pseudo-"training" programs nationwide, our newly-registered nurses are left with only one choice: to grab the program and go with the flow - if not, you can't work in the hospital.

Time and again I've been telling my colleagues, my fellow nurses, to do not patronize this kind of practice so that we can demand the hospitals to employ nurses instead of allowing them to continue implementing these programs and get nurses for their free services, and to some even ask for fees.

Volunteer nurses, aside from the gain on increased confidence in bedside skills, will not gain any other advantages. Volunteer nurses work and function closely similar to paid and employed staff nurses. They do not earn anything from their work, and they are also not considered employed by these hospitals. Any mishandling of patients on the part of the volunteer nurse will not be shouldered by the hospital since they are not legally liable to them. However, nurses under this program can be legally charged, sued and when proven guilty, may be imprisoned and have his or her license revoked.

Also, when volunteer nurses get sick or become infected from their current workplace, the hospitals will also not shoulder expenses for medications nor hospitalizations. Nurses patronizing this practice do not see these huge disadvantages and only focus on such a small glimpse of false hope. 

I still fervently hope that my colleagues will see that this kind of practice, may it be not deemed illegal, but is exploitative in nature. I hope that they start to see the bigger picture and consider the integrity of the profession in a bigger spectrum and not be blinded only with a falsely cloaked "advantage" in gaining clinical experience.