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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Philippine Nurses in Black Protest: A cheapskate nurse relates!

During those childhood times when I was still playing gullibly with my little friends, role playing scenes in a clinic or a hospital that I started thinking, I am going to be a doctor someday. However, as time passed by, due to certain unwanted occurrences, such as economic issues and my late father’s business diving to the abyss, I was brought by the thought that I ought to choose a career that would require lesser investment but would yield large income, should be medically related and in demand but would need shorter length of brain torment. That was when I started dreaming what most people in the country had dreamt as well, to become a nurse.

The best career that was booming back then (why does it seem like I’m too old), well as far as my clouded mind knew, was nursing. There were a lot of students just gotten out of high school enrolling for a nursing course, there was a huge number of nursing students in nursing schools, and there were plenty of registered nurses storming abroad for a much greener pasture. What I was too idiotic to think was that, I was not even enrolled in nursing yet then, I still needed to spend more years passing exams. By the time I would graduate or even have my nursing license, the entire Philippines would be too crowded with hungry-for-a-better-future registered nurses piling up in line. But no sir, the only time I realized that was exactly when I got my license (praises to God for the achievement though).

Things started to get a little misguided since then. See I was not born with a golden spoon, nor silver, well gold plated stainless steel maybe. Anyway, I know that’s not even an excuse since other people still manage to rise on top. I, on the other hand, had my mind set since forever, that I’m gonna end up being a high paid nurse. So for me, there would be no other way to rise above but by being a fulfilled nurse, which now is obviously very unlikely. I even had a time frame in mind, graduating in my early twenties, earning bucks in the land of the free by mid-twenties, and being stable by late twenties. See, all of them was supposed to happen within my “twenties”. I still am, in my twenties, late twenties, (damn I’m being too redundant with the word now), but I’m running out of time. I am not even half way near anything planned for my career yet. All I’ve got are wallet draining trainings that aren’t even legit when applying abroad but am so obliged to comply here, and a few months of “volunteer” work (not paid, the word says it all) that won’t get me much anywhere these days because they would all require “staff nurse experience”.

How hard could it be, you say? How come a lot of nurses don’t clamour like the rest?

There are three mind boggling reasons for that; first, they could be filthy rich they are even close to buying a hospital kind of wealthy.

Second, they might not be rich but their mother is the hospital’s chief nurse, their aunt is supervising the ICU, their dad is operating in the ER, their siblings are filing at the nursing services offices, and oh, I might forget to mention, their entire family runs the institution per se. You get what I mean? (This should even be a statement not a question, because most people now are aware of these shenanigans.)

To be fair, we still have the third reason that most of our aspiring nurses are clinging on to. They might just be a few of those who sweat blood, and struggled to be where they are now because of their wits and devoted hard work (the percentage of these people believe me is lesser than the number of an endangered species). They are those who play by the rules so to speak. Unfortunately, in our case, agonizingly hard work must be paired with tantamount of luck.

Why do Filipino nurses aim to work abroad?

For an obvious reason, passion, NOT, of course because of money, only a hypocrite might reason out differently. Especially on what has been brewing at the moment. Staff nurses in hospitals here are complaining of having low salary and compensation. Yes, even having a spot with your dream career in the country doesn’t suffice. Other countries would offer bigger opportunities to progress, promises that most of us are drooling to attain due to deprivation. Some hired nurses here don’t even get to be paid at the minimum wage.

Being a nurse is not just all about flaunting your white uniform in public and smiling gleefully at every patient you encounter. It is hard work (you can’t even imagine how frustrating it could be for volunteers). It is even a great risk to one’s health working and exposed to various health conditions and diseases every day. Health care workers deserve to be paid higher with sufficient benefits and insurance. Now, it seems like working as a nurse in a hospital is suicide.

In white we care, in black we protest

What happens to other nurses that are unemployed in hospitals or healthcare units?

We are still here, dreaming to practice the profession again someday. The upside, we are earning more than those in their white uniforms. Like what I was too late to realize, the population of nurses now in the country doesn’t equal the employment opportunities that should be offered in the field. Registered nurses end up having mismatched jobs (such as yours truly). When you are in a lower or middle class family in this forsaken society, you can’t just stay idle and live forever; you’ve got to work your ass hard in everything to survive. There are no other smart choices but to nail a job that would support your needs. Most RNs are into the call center industry, some teach English to other non-native speakers, and others just venture unto having their own business. There are also those who still find a place abroad, not as a nurse, but still satisfied earning enough.

Pity though, how a lot has been spent on our education, time and money seemed to have been wasted. Well, not totally, but we did strive hard to earn a spot with our profession, but then wound up on something we are not even supposed to be. In order to be a staff nurse, you need to undergo volunteer work. Those who are not lucky enough to have somebody to at least back them up, would be forced to spend more time volunteering and throwing money. If you stop volunteering you’ll gain no experience and would be back to zero. But what else do you have when your resources are draining because you are spending without earning?

When you finally get that “staff nurse” sashed all over your whities, the next problem you’ll have is surviving for a few more years having insufficient pay and not so compensated working hours.
What seems to be the main problem here? The profession itself, I mean, have tons of people just played stupid being in the wrong path of a lousy career? Or are there really those that should be blamed, a body that roots all this unfair treatment?

On October 17, 2014 Friday, a movement had been pushed through. A fight which started in black (this is not a movie narrative). The” justice for nurses coalition” was formed, comprising of nursing groups and representations. It was a mass action that arose with having Dr. Carl Balita as one of the voices for the said movement, which would hopefully slap some sense to those sitting in their thrones using nurses like ammo every time a health threat arises.

Dont just complain; send us the EVIDENCE please as we are compiling. This Nurses for Change Movement initiated RESULT will hopefully deliver CHANGE.
Yes, I requested Sen Trillanes to invite all nursing groups and representations too. Tayo nagtanim nito at Kahit sino umani, walang problema - basta nurses ang kakain.

I am proud to be a nurse. I support justice for nurses coalition, and the nurse for change movement… because in white, we care… in black, we protest!

Let me know what you think about this on the comments area below. (No, you can't trash.)

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