Call Center Nurses: Is It The Only Way?

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz drew flak last Sunday when she advised unemployed and underemployed Filipino nurses to go “out of the box” and search for a more lucrative career in healthcare information outsourcing sector of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. This is not the first time that this issue of hopeless Filipino nurses turning into call center employees drew public attention as the lack of plantilla positions and other nursing-related opportunities continue to paralyze the nursing industry. It’s quite ironic because the present health status of the country is still far from being described as ideal. But whenever Filipino nurses ask for serious answers from the government, they only receive band-aid solutions that can only alleviate the nursing employment problems within a short span of time. Is it about time to just accept the fate of Filipino nurses or the government still needs a little push to create feasible and long-lasting strategies to solve this problem?

According to  KMU (Kilusang Mayo Uno) chairman Elmer Labog, “Baldoz’s call shows that the Aquino government only has an ad hoc employment plan, not a comprehensive and sustainable one. After creating a glut of nursing graduates who failed to find jobs abroad, the government is now calling on them to apply for the limited number of jobs in the BPO industry.” 

The call center industry has indeed provided thousands of jobs for Filipino graduates over the years. I have nothing against BPO industry but as far as professional qualifications are concerned, there are three possible reasons why Filipino nurses should not spend the rest of their lives taking calls or doing back-office jobs. First, not all nurses are qualified for the job and even though there are plenty of positions available for them in the BPO industry, most of them fail because they don’t meet even the minimum qualifications intended for the job. Second, what nurses need and want is a genuine NURSING position that will enable them to apply what they have learned in college and exercise their own passion. Third, our government hospitals are in dire need of qualified medical professionals to take care of them and give them the quality of care they rightfully deserve. Our health care industry suffered nursing shortage in the past and now that there is a surplus, don’t you all think that it’s about time for the government to make the most of our present situation?

Nurses need jobs but it doesn’t mean that DOLE can just hand them over to industries that can either exploit them more or let them forget their inner calling. We need a government that will allow nurses to explore their own passion and not just a puppet-like entity that exists only for itself and not for the welfare of its people.

Photo credit: customerserviceking.com

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  • JFD

    BPO is not the the main reason why even registered nurses apply for a call center position. I think the reason why is they paying these hospitals huge amount of money just to practice their profession, yes, this will help them earned atleast years of hospital experiences before they will apply some available nursing jobs abroad, nurses needs to earn money as well… so they can help as well… so don’t wonder if sometime there will be no skilled pilipino nurses in philippine hospitals.

  • glenda moreno

    i believe that i am a victim of a short-term-job offered by the government.it’s a sad feeling to know that i can provide my knowledge and skills to my fellow filipinos but there is no enough institutions and hospitals that can accommodate their own registered nurses here in the country.i have worked in a government hospital as a nurse trainee for 1 year.i got hired because of the ‘backer system’,this is a system on our local government that hires only the ones who’s friends with politicians.

    the moment i finished my contract, i was so upset.i know its hard to like our job as nurses due to low salary compensation,nurse-patient ratio,the difficulty of the job itself. however,these experiences i encountered during my work were priceless and so precious that even i couldn’t exchange it with anything else.its not about just surviving this cruel world,its about our pledge to our career and duty to others to serve.its about a certain feeling you felt after you saved a life.

    i still hope that our government can do something about this burst of population of nurses.

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  • rivendell

    Yes, it’s the only way now for all of you back there.

  • Mrs Haze Sebastian

    Just can’t bring myself to agree with this one:

    “Second, what nurses need and want is a genuine NURSING position that will enable them to apply what they have learned in college and exercise their own passion…”

    I am one of those who have moved to the BPO sector, and contrary to what other nurses would think, I still get to use my clinical and critical thinking skills every single day. I also get to be a patient advocate, touch lives, and ensure patients get the quality care they deserve. We are also not allowed to function without the necessary license and what I am doing is recognized by my future employer in the US as RN experience.

    Most of these positions are also legit RN positions in the US and in most parts of the world. As far as I know, what I was taught when I was still in nursing school is that Nursing is not confined to bedside care. It is a profession that evolves with time, and as long as the core of the profession is there, I don’t think that these BPO posts are not “genuine”.

    Then again, maybe it’s just us Filipinos. Too bad that sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees.