The Truth About Nursing in the Philippines

Sugar coating the nursing career in the Philippines is just as unfair as saying that when you graduate as a nurse you’ll surely go to America and live the American dream. Nonetheless, many high school students are still willing to get their hands on this course and degree because they do want to see for themselves if they really do have a chance to making it big.

Frankly speaking, Philippine Nursing has become less and less this generation, of quality, of education and most of all of service. But surely, many are still entangled with the hope of being able to go to a different country, I myself am not exempted from dreaming of going to another country and probably someday I too can give my family a financial breathing ground. But unlike many students, it really is my dream to become a nurse. What I am saying is nursing schools should adopt the culture of screening their students to avoid producing nurses who don’t want to be nurses anyway. Is it really too much to ask to make schools and universities stop from turning Nursing education to Nursing business? I know some of you would agree that Philippine nursing is indeed a business. The bulk of students twice a year entering this course is not the only evidence but the fact that twice a year there are newly registered nurses who will eventually become unemployed. Of course, it is not the fault of schools why they produce thousands and thousands of nurses each year but they can still do something about it right? C’mon, Universities all over the Philippines become rich because of the revenue they garner from student nurses. This is also true for nursing review centers and training centers; they all think alike. But behind it all, they can actually work together to stop the too much industrialization of Nursing.

The relationship of Nursing and business is quite obvious; the divided curriculum of nursing can point out to this tactic. IVF training, ECG, First Aid and CPR training are handled by another division (Gov’t and Non- Gov’t) so that drooling new nurses would run screaming to them for a chance to have the training. And if you don’t have any of these trainings, you might as well end up answering phone calls from people continents away from you. The thing is it is indeed unfair that the government and other nursing organizations have nothing to say for nurses all over the Philippines. It is also unfair that membership to nursing organizations is mandatory or else you can’t land on a decent nursing job. What do these organizations offer to us nurses anyway? Except another financial burden that will cut a portion away from our salaries each year but we gain nothing from them anyway. I know, ranting won’t cut it but hey, don’t you people had enough? I think it’s high time for all of us to voice our claims. The new administration promised us that he will remove corruption in our land, right? and that we the people are his “boss” (I have nothing against the man J) My point is, why not help us nurses, throw down the corrupted system of nursing organizations who does not promise us anything but still has the nerve to legally collect money from us without question.

Painstakingly, parents try to put their children to good universities as a student nurse only to float in the sea of health care mediocrity after graduation. Let’s face it, nursing schools don’t really offer us high standard quality education. They all offer us the basics and yet we pay more than our lives can handle. The bulk of our knowledge came form our experiences, trainings, and reviews which by the way costs less than our entire 4 years in college. And yet, our professors would tell us that we need this and that. And after everything else, here we are only a small portion of our colleagues have jobs. Hospitals will even tell you that you cannot start as a nurse unless you become a volunteer for 1 or 2 years. They forgot to mention that you won’t receive an allowance, and you have to pay for your training, or deploy you to some rural area where you haven’t even heard of and they can’t guarantee to hire you after your training. (That’s why I salute volunteer nurses all over the Philippines for having the guts to swallow the life of a volunteer, you all deserve so much more, you know)

Some 20 years ago, nursing is a pride, a passion and a degree that you will really look up to. It’s in level with medicine, medical technology, dentistry and other Allied medical professions. Now, it’s nothing; you won’t even be considered overqualified if you enter a call center, which by the way is the common work for high school graduates in other countries. What I’m saying is, the standard of our career is gradually going down the drain and we even have too many contenders like India and the whole of Asia. What do we have to offer that others don’t? Our “caring nature” perhaps, but really, what can we offer?

Before a licensed Filipino nurse can go out of the country, he or she will have to either take an examination (which is pretty fair) or perhaps settle to being a student once again for 2 more years before they can be called nurses in that place. It is quite ironic because you graduated as a nurse here in the Philippines then you will have to train as a practical or assistant nurse in order to qualify (strange). They might as well slash in half your transcripts and credentials, right? I mean, if other countries want caregivers, practical nurses and nurse aides from other countries and we cater to them, why do we struggle to become nurses and in the end get the job with lower qualifications? Why can’t the Filipino community adopt the health care program of other countries where they train students to become practical nurses so they can go to other countries and eventually work their way up the health care ladder. Sounds more practical to me but then again, Filipinos are not as pragmatic as we all claim to be.

What’s more ironic is that, the international health care system made nurses think that this is what it is or else you will just be you – You’re licensed but unemployed. It is quite sad to realize that the Nursing profession is indeed a business, nothing more nothing less. Sadly, nurses are still pooling and pooling never really knowing what and how and why they did so because of the dream of making it big someday. Discouraging as it may, this should not stop anyone (especially nurses) from reaching their dreams. We are after all Filipinos and Filipinos will smile at any trouble that gets in their way.

Still I do believe that we will rise up and really live that dream. It is quite frustrating being unemployed after years and years of studying nursing, attending seminars, and paying for trainings and still not qualify for a meager paying nursing job. It’s funny because I remember our review center professor who always encourages us by saying “its raining license” as if having a license will make all the difference in the world. Sadly enough, this license I have; it has no great powers thus I got no great nursing responsibilities on my hand.

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Comments 1 comment

Jaye 5 years ago

It is better if a new graduate works in the Philippines in a hospital building up skills and knowledge while preparing to go out of the country ... It's worth it experience wise.. I worked in the Philippines for 9 years before deciding to migrate to the US .

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