It irks me to no end when I come across someone who haphazardly say “Filipino Nurses are the best nurses in the world”. Really now? Uttering a superlative statement like that is dangerous and shows ignorance as well as arrogance. I should think that before one can confidently say such, he or she should have a backing of a credible comparative study of the performance of nurses from around the world or at least must have worked in a foreign land, then, and only then can this be considered an unbiased statement.
This ethnocentric belief is very harmful to our profession, elevating our status in such a way that is unnecessary and burgeoned with bigotry. I am currently working in a foreign land, and I have been fully immersed in a healtcare system quite different from ours.
I have worked side by side with these foreign nurses and I have witnessed their utmost professionalism and dedication. They are very aware of their responsibilities which corresponds to their autonomy within the wokplace. I have come to embrace their work ethics which eliminates the strict enforcement of hierarchy that stifles productivity, as well as being treated as subordinates by physicians. In fact, physicians ask us regularly about the condition of their patients because we are the ones who mostly sees them when they are in the hospital. Are these nurses who I work with good? Oh, much more than that, they are excellent. Even with my four years of clinical experience in the Philippines, these nurses and even the LPNs (as opposed to RNs) have worked for decades and decades, and they still know their basic skills as nurses. I was an IV therapy preceptor back in the Philippines, and I have seen many who took up the training in their mid sixties for the first time even if they have been in the service for 20 or even 30 years, and the only reason why they took the training is because they were mandated to do so, furthermore, these nurses are the midmanagers in the hospital where they belong.
There is someone I used to work with who just recently retired, and she is in her early 70s. She was my mentor, and she remained as a staff nurse. Before that, she’s handled various positions in the health region (that’s what we call the employer which is the government as a whole), but she has always maintained that being a staff nurse was where she was most comfortable. Even at that age, she can lift, do bedbaths and regular tub baths to her patients. It is also amazing how she can manage to do her other day and/or night routines and sometimes I’m just in awe. Is she the only one? Certainly not, during my orientation I’ve been paired with other RNs as well as LPNs who are in their 60s, and they are very good. These folks commanded respect, and I give deference to them because they truly deserve it.
So if I am to be asked, “Are the Filipino nurses the best nurses in the world”, I’d say that they can be, just as the next Japanese or the American nurses can. Pinoy nurses indeed have the potential, but it is not right to step beyond a boundary that is unfounded and very untrue.
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