Its been a while when I started working as a Nurse Trainee in a private hospital. As a nurse trainee, I am not receiving anything, not a single centavo from the hospital. Lucky to those professionals who does not belong in the nursing career because from the time that they passed the board exam and got their license, they were able to work immediately with pay. They paid a cheaper tuition fee but look at them now, they are receiving a bigger salary compared to nurses.
It is a sad reality for us new nurses that we need to suffer first for a couple of months or even years working as volunteers or trainees before we can actually work as staff nurses. We are already licensed but we are not being compensated, we are exploited! We did not study nursing for free, we even had the most expensive tuition fee but look at us now, we are still asking money from our parents and we can’t even buy our own needs.
They are always telling us that the surplus of nurses is the primary reason why we do not have opportunities here. Well, Yes, they maybe right but my point here is that we have plenty of hospitals in our country and as far as I know, if not all, most of our hospitals are under-staff. If we are going to base it on the international standard ratio of nurses to patients which is 1:4, they really lack of staff nurses. Hospitals today are getting wiser, for them to be able to save expenses and fill in the lacking number of nurses they implemented the volunteer/trainee programs. In short, they have been taking advantage to the surplus of nurses without even thinking of our rights.
When this issue was raised in the Senate and was televised, I was a bit hopeful that somehow there could be better solutions but in the end, I was just disappointed. The solution given primarily focused on reducing or limiting the number of enrollment in every nursing schools. My God! we’re talking about surplus and unemployment of nurses, so why give as a damn solution that has nothing to do with our concern? Do you think that when the enrollment decreases the employment for nurses will increase? Come to think of it!
All nurses are members of the so called PNA (Philippine Nurses Association) and it is so nice to hear that we belong to a certain association that could somehow do something from our concerns and could protect our rights but sad to say they are not doing anything to the existing problems of nurses. All I know is they have been collecting money from us. How many new nurses does our country produced each year? How many existing members would renew their membership? That’s a big number for sure, therefore, that is also a big money to them. They must have done something to help unemployed nurses, a program perhaps, but then again there were none.
The only thing that I will get from being a nurse trainee is the experience; the chance to sharpen my skills, widen my knowledge, work with good people, and also being able to help and give care to the sick people, but other than that, there’s nothing else.
Just recently, the Department of Health stopped the volunteer programs for Nurses in all Government hospitals. Let’s just hope and pray that this action would take us somewhere, so that there will be no more exploitation and there will be better compensations for nurses .
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