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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  • I am one of the nurses that did volunteer nursing to gain experience to be able to migrate here in America.That is really a sad reality for the Pinoy nurses..but sad to say it also happens here in the US now..CNA who finished their RN’s were not hired as RN’s in the facility were they were presently working and would need to get their experiences somewhere else..or LPN’s that have worked for the longest time and finished their RN’s will be paid as new grads..which can be lower than their present rates as an LPN…JUST BECAUSE OF THE SO CALLED “SURPLUS” OF NURSES..

    • Gina Downer

      @gtapales, new RNs generally get to start as new grads. Your CNA or LPN experience is not counted as RN experience thus the new grad level. You keep your seniority but the pay level would be bew grad.

    • kees

      do you really have the idea the U.S is waiting for you to pay you this big salary,s as promised in the advertisment,wile ther own population are been kicked out of ther houses coz they can,t pay ther mortgage any more becaurse the got unemployed,,sorry but i don,t think so.
      so philipino people wake up and stop dreaming,,even how attractive this dream seems to look

    • dondonbaguioRNMAN

      so sad to hear that…but there in US is much better compared here…at least you are being paid there per hour..unlike here nurses are being paid per day and below the minimum wage of a worker.

  • kees

    let me tell you this,,asof im a european citizen i can say “READ: THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY IS VERY NOT WAITING FOR NURSES FROM OUTSIDE THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY: why?? becaurse inside the european community the are many unemployed nurses already, unemployed nursen from the so called low salary countries witch YES!! we seems to have also inside the borders of the european community,, so when it come to provide a working permit,ther shall always be priority to the unemployed nurses inside the EU community,,why?? for the very simple reason that is ther policy,,so if you manage to skip true all this regulations you just will end up in the so called low paied, underpaid jobes,wich are not really jobs but mostly all kind of side activitys to make it easyer for the people who own the real jobs.
    but this is not what the organizers of this bording exeams will tell you, coz ther only intrest is to give you the idea and the vision to a big salary, so you will buy your self in the enrollment
    so my advice is stop to buy this crap and start to focus your self to something constructive you can be for your own country instead of let your self educate into a kind of slave, who will have the change to go to to E.U or the U.S,,the U.S such other example of a place with a very high unemployment in a very short

    • kees

      …….have the change to go to to E.U or the U.S,,the U.S such other example of a place with a very high unemployment in a very short time.
      do you really have the idea the U.S is waiting for you to pay you this big salary,s as promised in the advertisment,wile ther own population are been kicked out of ther houses coz they can,t pay ther mortgage any more becaurse the got unemployed,,sorry but i don,t think so.
      so philipino people wake up and stop dreaming,,even how attractive this dream seems to look

    • av2003

      There are no more nursing jobs available in the Europe and the US because of the recession and economic crisis. It will take time before ( i dont know when 5-10 yrs or more )you will get a chance to come here.This was the same situation in the late 80’s, the US was in short of nurses then, and when the positions were filled up they stop hiring nurses from the Philippines. It resumed in the late 90’s to the early 2000. Once you pass the NCLEX or CGFNS you get a work visa. UK, Ireland started hiring nurses by the 2001 and pave way to the dilema that we were starting to loose or nurses back home.
      If you really wanted to go abroad as a nurse you may try the Middle East ( Saudi, Kuwait,Oman, Qatar etc – the pay is good enough, tax free and free food and accommodation ) or even Japan.

      Invest in enough patience , God has probably some plans for you. You are lucky you finished college, apply any work that you like and is available to be productive. Remember ,don’t loose that precious time .Good luck.

  • Gina Downer

    I remember years ago how our facility had a hiring freeze for nurses in the belief that there was a surplus of nurses. A few years down the road, they were scrambling to find experienced nurses and had to settle hiring new grads that took a minimum of 6 moths to train , just to be functional but not proficient. These seem to be cyclical because of some “experts” forecasting trends in the nursing career. There will always be jobs for nurses, specially for those that are in nursing because of the right reason…patient care. The Philippines produces some of the best nurses there are because of our inate caring nature. The PNA should really be actively working with the Philippine government to stop this exploitation of nurses in our own country. There is a dire need of medical staff in the countryside where health immunizations, health teachings etc is wanting. The thousands of idle licensed nurses can be contracted by the Department of health to do this. This would be a great experience for a new nurse aside from helping our countrymen address this basic health needs. Band together and demand that your education be put to good use by the government. A stipend, board and lodging would more desirable to do these things than doing volunteer work in hospitals that exploits the newly licensed nurses. Shame on those hospitals. Posts the names of these hospitals and let the public know.

    • dondonbaguioRNMAN

      we really have the same insights on how the PNA and DOH would utilize the surplus of nurses without exploiting them..if only they would let their damn asses work..it could not be like this..things like exploitation could have avoided but i guess they are enjoying what is happening…the gain is in their part.

  • mother earth,RN

    I so agree….I’m a recent board passer, and jobless..Some of my batch mates ended up in a call center, and some ended up as volunteers in some hospitals that paid them only with a meager food allowance with the promise that they’ll give them a certificate of employment as staff nurses even though they actually aren’t… I really feel pissed off with how things are going on, the continued exploitation of nurses is unacceptable…I just wish the so-called PNA will do something about this and not just sit their asses in the office and count the yearly membership fees they are receiving….

    • dondonbaguioRNMAN

      same here…i have so many batchmates who are actually registered nurses but now working as call center agents…and honestly after my contract as a nurse trainee in the hospital where i am in to…if i don’t get the chance to be a staff nurse there i will not be applying for a nurse as of the moment…maybe i’ll work in a call center then save for my future.

  • Adriann Caldozo

    Perhaps this should be forwarded to appropriate people like the DOH and the Philippine Nurses Association and not just a useless opinion and concerns floating in the internet and directed to the general public. If anyone knows somebody from these organizations, perhaps we can forward it?

    I also hear that you have to pay for these so-called training in the hospital? After which, the administrators then decide whether or not they will hire the trainee? I mean, this is just preposterous. Totally unacceptable!

    • This issue has already been an open-secret to both PNA and DOH but it seems like they did not know anything about it ‘coz they are not doing anything especially PNA.
      You can’t blame those nurses who are responsible for the “useless opinion and concerns floating in the internet”. That is their way of expressing what they feel and that is their only outlet.
      Yes, you heard it right and their reason of collecting payments from nurses is the so-called term “training” which is not suppose to happen.

  • NOT SO WONDERFUL DREAM..Yes if have a good employment and surviving well in RP..Stay there and help our country..Life is not as good as you them in the pictures and movies .that you’ll be saying to your self..ohh noo not this!The money that Ive earned last 2006 is a lot bigger than what Im earning now…before you can swim on available hours ,,,work here and there ..non stop..but now..calling off ..low census..your cancelled..you can hear that all the time..but the bills and mortgage cant be cancelled..thats my delima now.

  • dondonbaguioRNMAN

    it is nice to hear the same sentiments with you guys..thanks to [email protected] who accepted and approved my article…and a big THANKS also to all who read this article of mine 🙂

  • Mario Fuentes, Jr.

    Yap…that’s the truth I wish I did not study nursing at all. I should have invested to a course that it indemand here rather than migrating abroad…I also noticed the situation of Education graduates, it is still the same…it is getting worse. I do suggest if they can provide employment as nursing assistants or nursing aides to those who are not licensed at all but competently can perform the job. They can adopt the health care system Like in the United States, there are Nurse Practitioners there, LVNs, RNs with speciality in the fields of Maternal Nursing, Community Health Nursing and the likes…I end up working in a call center, which the government cannot provide me and I rather embrace this career and what it has to offer…I end up not to pursue nursing anymore…

  • la mgawang nars.com

    dammed PNA, they just making money from us.

  • Ambria

    Volunteer? What does that even mean?

    On my days, WE WERE ALREADY PAYING the hospital to work for them! Seriously, WE PAY the hospital so we could work our butts off for them.

    • a term used to describe nurses who’s after of the experience and works for them without pay…some of the volunteers now are also paying the hospital just to get an experience…

  • nippytotz

    leaders in the philippines lack the problem solving skills. ang dami daming leader,pero ang worker ang konti?? kung bawasan kaya ang leader?? kasi i think ang sahod o benefits ng isang leader ay equal sa 20 workers? oh in that way, marami makaka benefit.. hay..nakakainis.. i hate to say this,, pero ang bobobo tlga nila.. gggrrr

  • bonnetboi

    currently I’m with the RN heals program of the DOH and yes i share your sympathies regarding the PNA and DOH etc., I too have been one of those nurses who paid hospitals to get trained before i got into this program. Reality bites and it’s true that nursing is indeed a vocation – a calling. What we’re earning through the nursing professiona isn’t enough to support ourselves (i’m speaking for entry level nurses, dunno if those with nurse II or higher ranks have the same sentiments), worse, not even enought to start a family. that’s why most nurses resort to the most obvious thing, be a call center agent and it’s sad. After all the years spent studying, the thousands of pesos worth of tuition fee both in school and in review centers for the local NLE and some exams abroad e.g. NCLEX, CGFNS etc. you get stucked with being an agent because again – you have no choice. If you stay with your goal to be a nurse, you have to endure super low salary, not to mention how hard it is to find hospitals accepting applicants AND PROCESSING THEIR APPLICATIONS IT RIGHT AWAY (you have to wait months to years even. magugulat ka na lang “O nag-apply pala ako dito hahah”). On the other hand if you don’t work as a nurse, sure you get good pay, good schedules – close to human hours of work and you get a life (if you know what i mean) but you have this regret of lookin’ at your license just stuck in your wallet and not flaunting in while walking down the hall with your hospital ID. You see that’s the dilemma for us all. Though you can be a volunteer for years – but that just ends there. It can’t be counted as working experience and it’s becoming more popular these days that hospitals here and abroad are looking for candidates with PAID AND VERIFIABLE working experience not just a certificated of employment – another sad thing.

    So there, i’m not pretty sure what will happen to me after during or after this program. One thing’s for sure, I applied to almost every hospital I can think of (na hindi ako talo sa pamasahe at baon). I also applied with BPO companies again (because i worked as a agent back when i was still in college). If BPO companies call and hire me first then so be it. I cannot stay idle, I have to survive.

  • francis

    true….true….truth!!!!!!!!