B.S. Nursing in RP: To Ban or Not To Ban?

Photo courtesy of http://images.inquirer.net
Photo courtesy of http://images.inquirer.net

If hospitals will not be able to accommodate all of the 324,520 (and still counting) underemployed/unemployed registered nurses in the Philippines, then why is it not possible to close down all nursing schools, at least temporarily?

This was the question that dawned on me when I watched a news feature on T.V. about a male volunteer nurse who have to work as a “kariton boy” just to earn money to pay for his clinical experience. Seriously, the ironic pay-before-volunteering or pay-before-training scheme on our hospitals is taking its toll on the local nursing industry. It’s like government corruption and oppression at its finest. I pity every nursing graduate who have to undergo this inhumane employment process when all they want to do is to provide quality care for our sick and dying patients.

But how can we solve this?

Through DOH memorandum or House Bills preventing hospitals from hiring volunteer nurses or requiring them to pay for trainings? I doubt it. We all know how laws are being implemented in the Philippines so don’t even ask me why.

By closing down nursing schools which have been performing below the CHED standards? It has been done before but the remaining schools keep on opening its doors for all aspiring student-nurses, not even bothering to inform them about the harsh facts of nursing employment nowadays. Admit it or not, nursing schools are just there for the money and graduating from them is the be all and end all of the responsibilities they have for you as an alumni.

How about temporarily closing down a majority of nursing schools in the country? Or setting a higher standard of passing for new nursing graduates?

I know it’s not at all possible because to do that, we will sacrifice the jobs of few clinical instructors, deans, and teachers for the benefit of the majority. Not only that, we will also might block those dreams of students who really have the heart to become a nurse. But if we will not impose STRICTER REGULATIONS on schools offering B.S. Nursing in the Philippines, how we will be able to help those who are already struggling in the real world? If we will let supply to continuously exceed the demand for Nursing, then how can we create feasible jobs that will accommodate most, if not all, of our nursing graduates who are about to reach its half a million mark? Well, for me, we can consider these three options:

1. Close down all nursing schools except for the top ten schools considered by CHED as centers of excellence in nursing education.

2. In addition to a written NLE, graduates of B.S. Nursing should also be required to pass a more rigorous PRACTICAL EXAM to at least identify who are the ones deserving of the title or even discourage some high school graduates from pursuing the Nursing education.

3. Dissolve B.S. Nursing program in ALL schools in the Philippines temporarily. We can wait for about 5 years , 10 years or depending on the government’s discretion when will the nursing schools offer the program again. Through this process, we will be able to provide the government ample time to search for more employment opportunities that will give advantage to ALL our licensed nurses.

I know some of you might raise your eye brows or even mock my suggestions. But I still believe that in solving a problem, we don’t need to use temporary remedies. It’s like cutting the grass by its leaves but not pulling it by its roots. If even laws that our dear lawmakers have passed will not be enough to provide better future for our abused and exploited nurses, then how far can we get from here? If you consider my suggestions not feasible, then what is the best way that can we do to help in our nurses’ plight? …Prayers? We can pray as long as we want but prayer without action is futile. What we need is ACTION backed up by principles and understanding of our nurses’ situation. And we better act NOW.

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  • Hakob DC

    I agree. Halos pareho tyo nang sinabi. :p

  • Francis

    That is why a memorandum for the moratorium of BS Nursing, BSIT, HRM, and BSEd has been made to control the over population of graduates from these courses. In this way, the number of professionals will be regulated and will be able to promote quality education, at the same time, globally-competitive graduates.

  • DAPAT ISARA NA>>SOBRA N A TO

  • I agree on this one. Majority of the courses being taken is nursing and most nurses go abroad to improve other countries. Having nurses as part of the rat race. The only way to help our mass nursing graduates and nurses is to get into business. Just the right handling of money would set them up to success and the countries abundance as well.

  • Green Destiny

    Your definitely right, and i wonder, Technological schools opened BSN course while in fact, they are more productive/specialize in technology industries… Its not bad to open BSN course in different schools/UNIV/Colleges but (they) need to be certain that the quality of education that they are offering is high enough to meet the standards that the course is asking for…

  • I don’t know how I feel about this actually. I agree with some, but really disagree with other points.

    I don’t think that there should be less nurses, only more job opportunities. If the government took more control over the Philippine health service like the NHS in the UK, then maybe more hospitals could be opened, more jobs available and maybe we could help more of the sick and injured people. Just my opinion though.

    I AGREE though that nursing students shouldn’t have to pay for their clinical practice experience. I’m studying nursing here in the UK (where I was born) and we are actually PAID to study nursing, not the other way around. I think Philippines should respect their nurses and student nurses in the same way. Its an admirable profession, and this front line service shouldn’t be cut back, because there are too many service users.

    But I agree about stricter regulations too.

  • Pio Victor Basilla

    Regarding sa topic na ito.. to BAN or NOT to BAN BS Nursing course in the Philippines.. my answer is a BIG NO!!!!
    Hindi solusyon ang TATLONG nabanggit mo para mabawasan ang lumolobong populasyon ng Nurse sa PILIPINAS. Im sorry if I object.
    For me, if CHED is serious regarding this matter, bakit hindi kea icentralize ang entrance exam ng mga NURSING SCHOOLS sa PILIPINAS, kung saan CHED ang gumawa at CHED din ang magdedecide kung pumasa ang aspiring nurse o hindi… after that, may kalayaan ang estudyanteng mamili ng school na pag-aaralan nya. MUCH BETTER diba, FIRST screening….
    Second… Sa awa ng DIYOS, I am a Registered nurse, alam ko sa sarili ko ang hirap na pinagdaraanan ng bawat aspiring nurse, there is no need para magkaroon pa ng PRACTICAL EXAM…. bakit kamo??? from Second year hanggang makagradweyt, puro practical at hands-on ang ginagawa namin… di pa ba sapat iyon??? and do not make it as an excuse para sabihin PANTAKOT ito sa mga aspiring to be NURSE in the future, dahil, DISCOURAGING individual is not a healthy solution to a certain problem…
    Third. There is no need para iddisolve ang mga nursing schools sa Pilipinas, Anong dahilan? dahil lang sa lumolobong populasyon ng unemplyed nurse sa PILIPINAS. in this case para mo na ring inalisan ng karapatan ang mga Estudyanteng karapat-dapat namang maging NURSE…
    Ano ba ang dahilan bakit sinasabing dumami bigla ang nurse sa PILIPINAS… Dahil sa sinasabing UUNLAD ang BUHAY makakapag-trabaho sa ibang bansa, maiaangat ang magulang sa KAHIRAPAN!!!! ang lahat ng yan puno’t dulo ang kahirapan!!!!
    Mali ang naipunla sa kaisipan ng mga kabataan regarding sa kursong nursing… Walang pera sa nursing… pag nag- nurse ka… willing ka ibigay ang buhay mo sa pag seserbisyo sa iba…. YAN dapat ang ipinupunla sa mga kabataan.. hindi yan pananakot kundi iminumulat lng sila sa realidad na ang nursing ay isang DEBOSYON at hindi PROPESYON….
    Lastly, para po sa akin. There is no OVER POPULATION of NURSES in the PHILIPPINES, Nagulat ka ba?? Di ka nagkakamali kapatid…. Undersupply tau ng mga NURSE sa PILIPINAS… hanggat may mga hospital na ang ratio ng nurse-patient is 1:10, hanggat may mga nurse na sobrang pagod sa trabaho, merong undersupply ng nurse sa PILIPINAS…
    Ano ang problema??? BUDGET!!! TAMANG SWELDO!!! AT sapat na ATENSYON ng GOBYERNO ang kailangan… hindi ang pag-ban sa minamahal naming kurso….
    P.S.

    • regie

      and may I add, rampant corruption! There is an existing situation sa mga government hospitals na mga GHOST EMPLOYEES. 2-3 years na wala na sa pinas at nakapag abroad na pero nasa payroll pa rin. Double whammy, una, yung sweldo napupunta sa bulsa ng mga magugulang, ikalawa yung mga slots na DAPAT sana ay open, ay nananatiling may nakapangalan kahit di na nagtatrabaho sa institusyon. Pinaka mabigat na epekto: POOR HEALTHCARE SERVICE in the government hospital. 1-30 to 60 patients in a ward, na kulang sa gamot, pasilidad na kaluma-lumaan, at sobrang understaffed.

    • rn

      Ay sus baka isa ka sa mga kumikita dahil sa amin…. hay naku maawa naman kayo sa mga rN na walang mahanap na work dahil sa over populated na tayo. Parang RH bill lang yan getz mo…

  • pj pilar

    I dont agree with the statement made by mr.Basilla saying”Second… Sa awa ng DIYOS, I am a Registered nurse, alam ko sa sarili ko ang hirap na pinagdaraanan ng bawat aspiring nurse, there is no need para magkaroon pa ng PRACTICAL EXAM…. bakit kamo??? from Second year hanggang makagradweyt, puro practical at hands-on ang ginagawa namin… di pa ba sapat iyon??? and do not make it as an excuse para sabihin PANTAKOT ito sa mga aspiring to be NURSE in the future, dahil, DISCOURAGING individual is not a healthy solution to a certain problem…”

    how come we have nurses that have poor nursing skills. . . been training nurses for the past years, sadly, more and more nurses graduated and passed the NLE but bedside-skills wise. . . i’ll flunk them

  • Mark

    hmmmm

  • Mark

    • This is a very illuminating article. You are raising serious issues the plagues the nursing profession in the Philippines. I agree to your concerns about the nursing crisis to some extent. However, I disagree to your many of your suggested methods. The nursing crisis is more sinister that what you can imagine. Numbers alone are not sufficient to explain the nursing crisis in detail since the core of the problem is within the profession itself.
    • Interestingly, you mentioned that there are more than 300,000 unemployed/underemployed nurses in the Philippines yet if we are to follow the international standard of nurse-to-patient ratio of 1 nurse to 10 patients, the Philippines is still short of more than 500,000 nurses to meet the health needs of the 89,000,000 people many of which are living beneath poverty line.
    • Your suggestion to close down underperforming nursing higher education institutions (NHEI) is a good way of maintaining the competency of the graduates whilst ascertaining that every nursing graduate is fully equipped to practice his/her profession autonomously. However, just like what you said, nursing faculty from underperforming institutions will lose their jobs which will only add to the already ballooning unemployment/underemployment of nurses in the Philippines. Moreover, the state cannot withhold anyone or any institution who wishes to set up and run a nursing school because doing so is a violation of the fundamental right of an individual/institution to embark in such an endeavour (i.e. Article 29 of Universal declaration of human rights; RA 9173). The state can enforce strict regulations such as the nursing faculty should have postgraduate degrees (i.e. MAN, MSN, MPH, MAEd MBA, PhD, DNS, EdD, DPH, DBA) to ascertain that the nursing faculty are engaging in endeavours that will further expand nursing knowledge and develop clinical practice. However, to completely ban and dissolve nursing schools are like shackling the nursing profession to fecund and to flourish. You also have to consider that there are also nursing schools which are centres of development aside from centres of excellence which are involved in improving the nursing image, knowledge, and practice in the Philippines.
    • I understand your concerns about the nursing profession. However, I believe you have to research more about the nursing crisis to illuminate more clearly your understanding. Anyway, I feel so sleepy already so I’ll end my comment here. Lol!

  • oncology nurse

    it’s good that nursing profession is loved, but does the profession love nurses, newbies specially? nursing is exacting and very demanding profession. I recall my nursing facilitator telling me to be aware for nurses eat their young! took me quite a while to understand what she means. now, about the practical experiences some said ay sapat na, maybe it was sapat na for them to pass a subject or exam at college, but not sapat na for them to get a job. the earlier they understand the difference – the better. not all health institutions have the same needs, it’s best if candidates are adaptable. sadly, their practical experiences may not be what health institutions are looking for, maybe they want more. can applicants drain a wound? can they insert catheter? can they plan and document patient’s care? how good are they in administering medications? can they set up IV stand and prime it? can they calculate the drops/minute? how do they exercise infection control? can they explain the theories behind them? above all, never say at a job interview (if they’re lucky to get one) that their experiences are sapat na. its for the employers to decide what is sapat na. applicants are best to emphasize they’re willing to learn and update their skills, so they can fit in and fit well with the rest of the staff. technology and medical discoveries advance at an alarming rate and for the better, that we really have no choice but to keep up. about banning the course, that will not work. but I think, less nursing schools would be good, quality nursing schools.

  • USRN

    YOU ARE NOT GOING TO AMERICA ANYMORE.
    This is the message for all aspiring high school graduates who want to take up Nursing no t because they love the profession, but because they want to immigrate in the hope of a better life here in the USA. Thw reality, whether it is bitter or sad, is that THERE IS NO MORE DEMAND FOR NURSES FROM THE PHILIPPINES HERE IN AMERICA. The reality is there, whether you like it or not, and no amount of prayers will change reality. This awful jobless situation in the PH was fueled by many pinoy dreams of COMING TO AMERICA, and everyone saw the NURSING BANDWAGON as the way out of the grinding, hopeless poverty of the overpopulated, corrupt, crime infested PH. So everyone triend to scramble to grab a ride on the train. BUT THE TRAIN LEFT ON ITS LAST TRIP. So all half million nurses are standing there jaws wide open with nowhere to go. These pinoy nurses will never set foot in America in their lifetime, unless they go into a fixed marriage with a US citizen, immigrate by family petition or sneak in as tourists, to stay as TNT. Nursing is dead as a PH profession. The NCLEX station in MNL should shut down, and parents give up all hope for their kids to migrate here in America. THE NURSING DEMAND IS OVER FOR PHILIPPINE NURSES.