What now, Nurses?
After four years of Nursing School, a total of over 2,000 hours of related learning experiences and grueling hours of stress and worry over the National Nursing Licensure Examinations – you finally get your long-awaited license. Great! The family’s celebrations go on for weeks right before it settles down to the first question most new Registered Nurses end up asking themselves: “What now?”
One starts piling up her basic necessities and sets off on a great adventure; out to find hospitals that would accept him/her for her skill and passion for the profession – only to be sent home with barely any resumes accepted. “Closed na ang hiring. [Hiring is closed.]”
So, what now?
For years, we have been bottle-fed the thought that Nurses are “always in demand” and that it will be our road to prosperity: the ever coveted dollar – whilst admittedly true in a sense, one must never forget: the United States of America, Canada, and many other sought after foreign lands produce their own native nurses and with the way things are going economically (e.g Occupy movements, Healthcare budget cuts), it becomes quite a big leap of hope to even try. In fact, according to the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the US produced over 150,000 nurses in 2010 alone – and the numbers are rising, as their passing rates soar as high as 87% the past year.
The current demand for Filipino Nurses are more centered towards the Middle-East, where most new nurses would rather not go for fear for their safety and assumed cultural incompatibility – an understandable fear as we are more culturally similar to our western friends in comparison to our other asian counterparts. Even then, taking the chance in the middle-east will require you to have actual experience in a hospital.
Big names in the nursing world would encourage you to have your own business; become an ENTREPRENURSE, per se (was included in the July 2011 exams!) But without a capital to begin with, such plans fall apart.
And now you are back wondering: what the hell am I to do? You volunteer.
The problem is that most hospitals don’t exactly consider volunteer experience to be actual hospital experience. Worse, some are being made to pay for work one should’ve been getting paid for – all for the hope that if one does well, the hospital would “absorb” them. “Would”, implying that there is no guarantee – only hopes that may or may not fall onto deaf ears.
People fail to realize – this is not volunteerism at all! Volunteerism is done without expectations and hopes of being given back something in return; a very noble thing to do; but let’s be practical: we became nurses to earn a living. They have families to sustain, dreams to fulfill.
You have a diploma in Nursing and a License – you are supposedly theoretically competent enough. In an ideal world, hospitals would take you in as an employee THEN train you according to their standards of care – not the other way around. Only big-shot hospitals like The Medical City and St. Luke’s Hospital adhere to these ideals.
Maybe hospitals should start to think: how would one get experience if no one would let them have a chance? With many undermanned hospitals, why are we still experiencing such great a surplus of Nurses? Simple: Nurses condone these practices by hospitals the same way the Government does no long-term solutions to ease the problem.
What the Filipino Nurse needs to do is to pressure the government and hospitals to follow the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, The Labor Code of the Philippines, and RA 9173 – the Nursing Law.
How does one start? There are many ways to start: namely, getting involved in an advocate organization for Nurses and spreading the word. Visit the website of the ANG NARS ORGANIZATION (http://www.angnars.com/) or support them through facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ang-Nars-National/) and support their advocacy towards the greater benefit of the more than 700,000 nurses in the Philippines.
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