In a few days, our dear President Benigno Aquino III will be giving his State of the Nation Address or SONA. In line with that, we also want to publish the State of the Nursing Profession Address, a summary of news and insightful information about nursing in the Philippines.
Please note that there are many things in life that should be taken seriously, and this may not one of them.
The July 2012 Nurse Licensure Examination
The weather was perfect last June 30 and July 1, 2012 which was the schedule of the July 2012 Nurse Licensure Examination (NLE). This deserves a spot in our list because the new examinees were the first one to graduate under the revised curriculum as mandated by the CMO 14.
Last year, I was expecting that there will be a Nursing Practice 6 which would be about Geriatric Nursing. Fortunately, the test still ended with NP5. That would be an additional burden for July 2012 test-takers as their curriculum was even more challenging.
We are all now eagerly waiting for the results.
The Steady Increase and Steady Decline In the Number of Nurses
From the year 2000 to 2010, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that there are 2,668,046 students who enrolled for the nursing program. The demand for universities to teach these 2.6 million students nursing suddenly became a boom that might even be the most boom of all booms in all Philippine History that Nicki Minaj even wrote a song for it.
In fact, the nursing demand was so high that there wouldn’t be a school commercial without a nurse in it. Some were even taught nurses to defibrillate an asystole.
Unfortunately, out of those 2,668,046 enrollees only 491,900 or only 18.4% were able to graduate. On the same report, it is stated that there are 838,995 graduates who took the board examinations and 365,625 (43.57%) successfully passed the exam whilst, 473,370 failed or 56.53%. As of data from 2007 to 2010, there are 199,902 nurses active registrants.
Imagine that the growth of 2.6 million enrollees since 2010 is now on a steep downward curve. Enrollment on nursing schools become more gloomy each school year since the announcement of the news that there is no more shortage of nurses in the US. Also, Filipino nurses should not expect to land a job as a nurse until 2020. The once throbbing and so ‘erected’ growth of demand for nursing is now having an erectile dysfunction.
Nursing schools since 2010 stopped hiring new nursing instructors, and instead, some are being dismissed and are asked not to have their contracts renewed. Both the professional regulation commission and commission on higher education have been urging high school graduates not to take up nursing.
Shut Down of the so called “Nursing Schools”
Since the upward trend of enrollees, there was a sudden boom of demand on nursing programs. The Philippines was one time chanting “Teach us! Teach us the way to become a nurse!” And if you are reading this, you’re maybe one of the many nurses who were magically enchanted by your parents to take nursing or don’t go to college.
Who wouldn’t? During the high demand of nurses around 1990′s (which is exactly the opposite of today), once you graduate, no need for experience, no need to take the NCLEX, just wait a few months for a US Visa and boom, you’ll be flying in US and work as a nurse.
Because of that, many universities were enticed to open their own nursing programs even without knowing the how-to’s of it. These schools were more on profit than producing a quality nursing grad. Schools that offered nursing popped-up anywhere and we’re badly controlled that any university can offer nursing.
And what does someone get if a recently opened nursing school, and hired incompetent instructors? Poor-board rating. Its not that they are taught to put a check mark rather than shade the answer sheet; its just that they’re not really mature enough to teach quality nursing.
CHED took action just a few years ago, and put around 152 nursing schools in the brink of closure due to their hypotensive board performance. The so called “shape up or phase out” was initiated. CHED even enforced a rule that schools whose performance in licensure examinations is below five percent for three consecutive years would have their permits revoked and their concerned program be phased out.
More Job Opportunities for Nurses
A lot of you would agree with me that there are very few opportunities as a nurse here for nurses. Data from 2010 shows that there are 169,922 registered nurses who are unemployed. Most nurses would work as call-center agents, teaching Koreans to say “Florence Nightingale is the Lady with the Lamp” and some are venturing as Nurse Entrepreneurs (and God know what the heck they would sell). If not, others would look for opportunities abroad, wherein the grass is greener and the dollar exchange rate is to 43 pesos. Sure, sacrifice the chance to be with your family and live alone in a foreign country than starve to death in your own country. Right?
Many of us are hoping that the employment scenario in the Philippines could be a little bit better. Produce more jobs since there are a lot of us looking for one. And yes please, we want to work as a nurse.
The RNHeals Program
Because the government is tired of seeing unemployed nursing graduates, they created programs that would somehow employ us nurses. One of which is the Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RNHeals). This program aims to amend the growing number of unemployed nurses by giving them a one year contract of employment with a monthly salary of 8,000 pesos. Hep hep hep! With PhilHealth Insurance and Group Accident Insurance. Hep hep hep! Also with food allowance and 2,000 peso allowance from your LGUs.
This program was a big hit (at least in our website), that every nurse in the country want to apply for it, which caused the RNHeals online registration website to be down for a few days because it exceeded its bandwidth.
Now here comes the problem. Most of the nurses we asked in our Fanpage complained of delayed stipend or no compensation for months! Others are only compensated with SPAM lite and a cup of rice and a Sandata on Sakuna (SOS)
The problems are so obviously exploitative that we decided to write a post about it. Some nurses under the RNHeals are not receiving their allowances of 2,000 (and that’s even the minimum) from the LGUs. Didn’t they read the memo? The official memorandum states that: “The Local Government Units (LGUs) shall provide the Nurses and Midwives an additional allowance of at least Two Thousand Pesos (2,000) per month…” It doesn’t say “can”, not even “may” but it says “shall”.
So Mr. President, this program is great and all, but please, give us what we deserve and we are suppose to receive. Give us what we have worked for.
Increase Our Salary. Else, Give What is Rightfully Ours
The Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 states that a Nurse 1 (entry level nurse) should not receive a salary lower than Salary Grade 15. According to Ang Nars, up to this date, this has not been implemented. Currently, nurses in government hospitals receive a salary grade of 10 or 12,000 pesos. Supposedly, entry-level nurses should be given 24,000 (Salary Grade 15) per month as starting salary. This is mandated and backed by RA 9173. I wonder what’s their basis for salary grade 10?
And of course, government officials know. Hospital administrators know. But they really do know how to play dumb with us.
The Hardworking (and underpaid) Nurse
The exploitative condition of nurses in our country saves the government money. Believe it or not.
The ideal nurse-patient ratio is 1:15 but nurses in government hospitals takes care of around 40 to 80 nurses per eight-hour shift. Instead of hiring five to six nurses for 40 to 80 patients, only one nurse is hired for the job. Also, the exposure of nurses to communicable diseases and extended hours of duty gives a heavy reason why Salary Grade 15 should be implemented.
So Mr. President, can you make nursing more fun in the Philippines? At least for us nurses?
Margaret Crespo Justice Served…7 years later
For those who live in a cave without TV or Internet, Jaclyn Margaret Crespo is a graduating nursing student who was raped and killed last 2005. Crespo was living alone in her house, as her family is based in the U.S., was strangled to death on her bed and was naked from waist down when she was found. Last July 20, 2012, Quezon City court convicted Kim Ojano of Fairview, QC to life imprisonment. He was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape with homicide.
This should be a warning to all nurses who are living on dorms to be more cautious.
Sentiments of Nurses
In our Fanpage, we asked our readers “What are your sentiments or anything you would like to hear from his speech?”, share and read the posts of our fans here. Did we miss anything in our version of SONA? Comment below!
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