Thursday, April 14, 2011

Foreign News Channel Aired Filipino Nurses' Plight

A China-based news agency, CCTV featured the plight of Filipino nurses and their struggle to get employment in the country yesterday April 13, 2011.

Here's the link to my interview:


The continuing struggle of Filipino nurses and the push made by different nursing leaders put the nursing issues in to the surface and in mainstream media. In this news report CNTN interviewed, Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan, former Secretary of Health and now professor at the University of the Philippines, Dr. Rustico Jimenez, the National President of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines and yours truly who represented the nursing sector. 

The nursing profession has become a popular course among young Filipinos and became the topmost choice of college courses by parents. This is because of the increased demand of nurses abroad and the pay is much higher than a white-collar job in the country. An average nurse makes around US $120-220 while in the USA, a nurse would earn around US $4,000 a month. This huge difference attracted many Filipinos to work abroad for their families.  

In this interview Dr. Tan said that nurses in the country chose to work abroad because the pay is indeed higher than what it is in the Philippines. Truly nurses in the USA, UK and Canada have higher salary, more working benefits, and are more dignified in the professional practice. But these nations have started to tighten their measures of hiring foreign nurses - that does not exclude Filipino nurses.

The Professional Regulation Commission-Board of Nursing stated that there were more than a 100% increase in the establishment of nursing schools across the country in about 10 years from more than 100 schools up to close 500 in 2010. This drastic increase of nursing schools eventually increased the number of graduating students and those who will take the nursing board exam. But the demands of foreign nurses have declined which then leaves our Filipino nurses trapped in the country.

With around 250,000 unemployed nurses, this gave rooms for many to exploit desperate nurses wanting to land a job locally or overseas. Many nurses have asked institutions to get them to volunteer so that they could hone their skills, thinking this is the ticket to work abroad. But many of the hospitals abroad does not acknowledge this anymore. And because nursing leaders cried foul over "volunteering for a fee" many of these hospitals who were practicing this changed it to a so-called "training program". 

In the video the "nurse trainee" interviewed ceased her so-called training in the hospital and chose another path where she can earn. Meager as it is, she said "we have to face the reality". Paying these hospitals to gain clinical experience with the hopes of being employed locally or internationally are still practiced by many young nurses. And the hope of one day working in foreign soil, even if it means paying for these so-called trainings for years.

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