Nightmares in Nursing

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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  • marie

    Volunteer nurses don’t loose hope, try and try till you get the job you deserve, if you fail with your expectations, don’t be discourage, try again and be positive. this bitter thing that happens with the nurses nowadays is due to few or lack of demand for a greater supply of nurses. Our government is not ready to employ the huge number of nurses that we now have today.

  • Well said!!! It’s time that newly qualified nurses put their feet down and stand for what is RIGHT! They (Hospital Management) treat Nurses like children who doesn’t know what’s good or bad. Being newly grads doesnt mean being ignorant and therefore could be subjected to OUTRIGHT USE AND ABUSE!!!
    If they (hospitals) would be running their understaffed institution with QUALIFIED UNPAID REGISTERED NURSES, I see it fit that the patient be given outright hospital fee discounts OR EVEN FREE TREATMENT!!! Don’t you agree my dear UNAPPRECIATED NURSES???

  • pHiL

    don’t be so negative my dear collegue, training ur self will make a competent nurse and later on, you can use this as an armor once u started a real job, as a staff nurse, especially abroad, i started as a trainee for 3 months just like you and i did my best until they finally promoted me to be a staff nurse.. later on, after two years of preparation, i applied abroad and there i became more competent and even more promoted as a charge nurse… one more thing, you don’t have to be a member of PNA, whats for? for the ID? i never been a member of PNA… what’s the benefits at first place? until here, better luck next time and wish u the best!

    • Nurses are very in demand abroad!!I cannot understand why the government reduce the numbers of nursing enrolment.It isn’t fair for someone who dream to be a nurse and cannot get in because somebody else taken the place,they should not allow other professionals taking up nursing because they are getting the jobs that meant to be for nurses.Nursing ratios is 1:4 or 1:5 abroad if this ratios is implemented in the Philippines I’m sure all nurses will be able to get a job,and why punish the nurses who spend so much money to finish the course(unpaid work is even lower than a slavery)why not giving them the job that meant for them? It is about time that PNA should stand by the nurses to liase to government a better working conditions and a higher salary,if they cannot get a paid job in the country they should allow them to work overseas so that they will not become stagnant and lost their nursing skills.Maybe it is about time that Filipino nurses should be united to fight for their rights,and be heard in the senate,maybe a tougher and better association has to be formed.