Nurse Abuse: A Shattered Dream

Hi! my name is Marc, 26 years old, a certified registered nurse. I want to share with you my life and story, not as who I am personally but, my life as Registered Nurse. My path as a nurse started when I decided to take Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing after  graduating from high school. I got interested in nursing knowing that I will have an opportunity to work  abroad and earn decent of money. I know it’s not just me who thought of this when we were in college, our primary goal at that time was to go abroad, and serving our country first was not yet in our minds at that time…  am I right? Four years, I spent my life as a student nurse,  encountering lots of trials which made my desire to become a registered nurse even stronger. There were a situations where I had to go to class even though our group just finished the graveyard shift,  but despite of those sacrifices, we were willing to endure it just because becoming a registered nurse and going abroad was our main goal.

After graduation, I thought that my life will become smoother and becoming a nurse is easy,  but I was wrong. I just realized that was just the beginning of my trials to become a nurse.   I had my review at one of the most prestigious review centers here in Manila.  The reviewers stated that the true meaning of R.N. (which really meant Registered Nurse) was “Rich Na”  because they said that we had the chance to become millionaires due to the big opportunity to work abroad, with the increased demand for nurses in other countries.  As the review went on, that statement became my motivation — not just to pass the board the exams and become a successful registered nurse, but also to work abroad.

After passing the board exams,  I thought that my dream was within my arms reach. I did not realize that it was just all promises.  I applied as a nurse volunteer which was a requirement by the government, and also so I can be “absorbed” by the hospital.  However,  applying for a volunteer position took months just to be called because of the “first come,  first served” policy in our country. After the long wait,  I was surprised because of we had to pay one thousand three hundred pesos, just to become a volunteer!  Working as a volunteer made me thing that we are being abused, because we worked the full 8 hours, even doing the job for the staff,  and sometimes relieving them of their responsibilities when they go out for lunch or when they do other things.  Then after all that,  we were the ones who still paid them instead of us being paid, or at least given allowances, to lessen the burden from our parents.

After finishing my Nurse Volunteer Training, I thought that then I will have the chance for a paid nursing job if I applied at other hospitals.  Sadly, there were no job offers for us nurses in these hospitals.  What they offered were again Nurse Volunteer positions, and again have to fork out PHP1,000+ pesos.

I tried to find an agency to have a chance to work abroad,  however the requirement is a minimum of 2 years experience. But how in this world can we get 2 years working experience as a nurse if there are no job offers for us nurses in the first place? How about the volunteer jobs that I and other freshly registered nurses worked on? they don’t count them as work experience?.  If the  “PALAKASAN or KAPIT SYSTEM ” is not forbidden  in our country, I and my other fellow nurses are doomed.

There are lots of Hospitals out there who are lacking man power, especially nurses. The quality of care for patients are very insufficient.  Imagine that the ratio of nurses here in our country are 1:20 to 1:30 nurses per patient, how in this world can one nurse take care of those sick and ill clients?

I hope that the Government gives attention to this.  Many Registered Nurses are now on the streets looking for jobs which are not related to their courses.  I and those of my colleagues have the same dream — to become a Registered Nurse, and to work and apply their knowledge at a hospital.

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  • vhic

    these practice of philippine hospitals of asking nurse volunteers money before nurses are allowed to practice is really a serious, vicious crime on the part of the hospitals and the government and its allied agencies for not acting on behalf of the poor nurses.

    what is the philippine nurses association doing to protect its members from these blood sucking hospitals?

    what is the professional regulation commission doing to protect the interest of the nurses?

    the government should act fast for and behalf of the nurses to stop these vicious money milling industry which is perpetrated by philippine hospitals.

    where in the world can u have these kind of scenerio, where after spending four expensive years in college, you would still need to have a 2-3 years experience before you are even qualified for a nursing job? and if you want to volunteer, the nurse volunteer is the one to pay the hospital instead of the hospital compensating the nurse for his service? ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES!

    for the concerned government officials…please wake up and serve your people to whom you promised to serve and protect!

    • rn_052086

      well my dear colleague its not only you who had experience paying for you to volunteer…me myself had to atleast pay 4000 pesos for a 4 months volunteer duty…and good for you…you had only 8 hours of duty while us we had 12 hours of duty…

      and now some recruiter agencies dont accept volunter training as part of experience…..

      before the government had the NARS program during the arroyo time then now they change it to RN HEALS yet its limited time…can the goverment make a permanent solution for it????

      i guess it could have a permanent solution for this if only…only our government is not run by corrupt officials…

      • Vivian

        Hospital owners/officials should be held liable for asking money from nurses who volunteers to work in their hospitals. That’s what you call exploitations of nurses, only in the Philippines. And that’s also what you call another form of corruption…why in the hell you ask money from the nurses who are already offering their services without pay to your hospital? This is UNBELIEVABLE. Whose idea is that, requiring nurses to pay the hospital for volunteer works???

        The gov’t. should do something about this ASAP. There are thousands of nurses stranded right now that are unemployed. The present gov’t should stop blaming the past administration,and should look ahead, move forward instead of turning back.

    • lea

      hi, i am really saddened with your credentials, but anyway would you mind applying in some provinces because like our province in Tanauan Batangas, they are looking for newly grad nurses.. and I may said the hospital whose needing for i know,, maybe you could still check , Immaculate Hospital in katipunan marikina or SDS Medical center, because I’m driving over there and see those openings that they had maybe you could try.

      Hope this will help you. Dont lose hope.

      God Bless friend,

      Lea

  • Nestor Monte, jr.

    Obviously this situation happened during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. What am I not surprised? I have full confidence with the Noynoy Aquino administration and I am sure this is being looked into. I have family members who are nurses both locally and abroad and I know how they worked hard and and still do to carry-out their profession with great zeal and dedication. Mr. President, we know that you inherited a multitude of misfortunes and what nots from your predecessor but please give these nurses your special attention and the long-overdue respect they deserve. After all, your predecessors call our OFW’s as “Mga Bagong Bayani”. It’s time to “walk their talk”.

  • Rogelio Fernandez

    I am not Nurse not graduate but this was happened to me when I graduated from my course, Agriculture. During this time circa 1960’s our government keep on telling that we need any Agricultural(Agriculturist) graduates to help the problem of Food shortage of our country. The government or any agency of our government keep on sayng that AGRICULTURE is the backbone of country to make our country progress. But what happened I never landed to this kind of job. Instead I landed a job at the U.S. Naval Base in Subic as Apprentice. After my apprenticeship I worked as regular Base Employee in Ship Repair Facility until I was granted Special Immigrant to migrate to the United Sates.

    • philip

      swerte mo nmn..hirap kc kumuha ng permit now to live and work in US.

  • we are on recession right now so what can we expect from out economy. too many graduates each year too little vacant positions anywhere we go. your story is no different than us or to other graduates out there!

  • Nestor Monte, jr.

    We have to start somewhere. It’s a given that our country are always on rough times but it all boils down into this question “Is the government doing something about it?” Compare the efforts of our government now from the Arroyo administration? Eight years of mis-governance and glaring corruption – How shameful! We just have to address it one at a time. Thank God we have a new president!

  • Way back the 80’s same situation was experienced by newly qualified nurses. there was large number of graduates during that time and america was closed for nursing at that time kasi nga ang daming new nursing graduates.just like now, since we thought it will be easy to work abroad.the problem is there’s a global economic problem around the world kahit big shots countries are having thier fair share of money problem plus left and right political unrest in the midle east.even in other european countries there are nursing shortage but the’re not hiring outside because of the economic situation.when i was starting 1982 i have no job as a nurse ,so i took jobs unrelated to my course, that was after i did my 6 months rural service unpaid pero i didnt pay anything naman. then worked as a private nurse for 3 months then luckily got a job in a national hospital.then midle openned ayan na uli hiring na naman.tiis tiis lang kabayan.pasasaan ba yan makakatrabaho din lahat.for the time bieng branch out BSN big time. you can teach for a while. good luck

  • Nestor Monte, jr.

    When the time comes na pwede na mag-apply abroad, just be careful in dealing with our Filipino recruiters. You don’t want to be in the headlines just like what is happening now with the Filipino teachers in Prince George’s County Maryland who were victimized. Apparently, the school district was in cahoots with these local recruiters.

  • haha

    My head’s hurting after reading this article. Geez!

  • fz

    im full of regrets on taking up BS cursing. tsk tsk tsk

  • That is the current situation going on in our country. Kung hindi man tayo mabibigyan ng trabaho sa mga hospital bilang NARS sana huwag na lang singilan ang pag-vovolunteer. Kung Hindi open for hiring sana open for volunteers without pay kasi malaki ang naitutulong ng mga cvolunteers sa pagpapakagaan ng trabaho ng mgs staff nurse sa hospital. Sa kasalukyan, kung kailangan magtrabaho at hindi kaya mag-volunteer, pde tayong humanap ng trabaho sa ibang field habang wala pang open para sa atin..

  • gerrilyn

    holy crap! i feel sorry for you my dear. i don’t know what the heck those hospitals are thinking. charging you while working as volunteers? that is insane. you were right, you were abused and those hospitals should be sued. i hope america will start recruiting nurses again, so you guys can work here without getting abused. just hang in there, your time will come. in 10 years, hundreds of filipino nurses will retire, including me. that means, there will be more hospital/nursing homes vacancies. don’t stop believing.

  • norberto bajandi

    studying nursing should be regulated. with over populated nursing graduates their is no job for all both locally and abroad. it a waste of money and time for the students and parents. there are other profession like in computer, engineering,etc. that should be given priority.

  • maria

    Every new RN has to go through this challenge, but that’s exactly what it is… a challenge! Something that should actually push you to strive harder and not give up. Just because you have been encountering one challenge after another, it does not mean that your dreams are shattered. I passed the board exam in 2006, volunteered at a district hospital and at the same time worked as a Clinical Instructor for a university… that’s sometimes working 16hours a day! Like you, I have encountered so many disappointments but I never gave up… 3 years later, I am now working for a prestigious hospital here in the US. Working your way up to fulfill your dream is not going to be an easy path, sometimes it’s a slow crawl but if you have faith in God and believe in yourself then you will be rewarded in the end. Here in the US, it does not really matter which hospital you worked/volunteered at… what is important for them is that you have what it takes to be a nurse, someone who is compassionate, sincere and patient. Dito, ang nurse talagang bedside care, you build a relationship with your patients kahit na isang gabi mo lang aalagaan. I am so proud to say that my patients have only good things to say about every filipino nurse they encounter. A lot of nurses went through the same hardship and survived… SO CAN YOU! don’t just dream… act on your dream!!! Goodluck!

  • katkat G

    Well on my own opinion, there are things in life that you have to work on it. I my self is one of the victims of this kind of policy most of the hospital I’ve applied for its either I have the money or the “BACK UP” on my selves to be considered as a CANDIDATE to be hired. The year 2000 below is the year where these kind of policies NEVER existed from what I saw, applying a job abroad with just your RN license and a certain amount of money to apply and “no experience” still you can apply, back then it was so damn loose no strict requirements but now its either you have the money and the back up you need then consider yourself welcome to the team.

  • Jane Benedicto

    It’s really very disheartening to read your story. And it doesn’t even offer any comfort to say that your plight is very common (and seems normal)these days. I have been a nurse for 23 years now, I’m currently working in the US, but I did work in the Middle East for some time after 3 years of working in the Philippines post graduation (as RN)Volunteerism was a “never-heard” word back then. So, my career really went “step by step”. It was not an easy climb though, but I never thought it would be, in the first place. When I graduated and passed the local board, I worked for 3 years in the Phils with a MONTHLY salary of 800 pesos! Then after getting enough experience, I tried in the middle east where I stayed for quite sometime. I was there when the US opened hiring for a few years, (early ’90s) but I cant give up my job then, so needless to say, I loss my “first” chance of getting to the US. When they opened up again for hiring (early 2000) I did not hesitate to give up my Mid-east job for fear of losing my 2nd chance. Without knowing what would happen, I quit my job and tried to apply here in the US, fortunately, I got it. But again, it was far from being easy, I had to take all the examinations needed. When I finished them all, I had to wait for the visa for 6 years. And now that I am here, I saw the bleak reality that although life here is far different from anywhere, you really have to work hard, real hard to fulfill what everyone was saying, to be a RN (rich na). Oh no! It’s not that easy. Don’t believe all the hype! And on top of it, now that the US no longer hire from the Phils or anywhere (since 2006 actually), the scene is very much the same as in the Phils, a lot of American nursing graduates are having a hard time in finding jobs! Since the US was put on a recession, employment rates dropped considerably, thus, most high school grads are flocking to nursing schools (thinking that the employment opportunities is high) Yes it was, but that was before. I am writing this not to discourage my fellow Filipino nurses, but to encourage them to at least reconsider another career. Or if they know would-be-high school-graduates, in the family, or among friends, to tell them to reconsider, because the nursing job prospect here in the US is very bleak! Come to think of it, why would US hospitals spend their time, money and effort in recruiting nurses from the Phils when a lot of AMERICAN graduates are applying LOCALLY in their offices? Coming to them personally and being evaluated right then and there? If they hire from the Phils, the hospitals need to wait for 5-6 years before the nurses that they hired can actually come here and start working for them! Sounds non-sense isn’t it? That is the reality of the nursing profession. I pity the parents who give their all to send their children to nursing schools. And I blatantly blame the nursing schools and the education system (or authority) there in the Phils, for NOT being honest enough to tell the truth! It started in 2006 when the US dropped their recruitment from the Phils to 60% (from total global hiring) to 10%, before finally pulling out totally. But I’m sure, those nursing students from 2006 (nor the parents) were never told of this! Of course the ads said otherwise! It very pathetic! I have known this even when I was there, and even telling my neighborhood friends to reconsider sending their high school grads to nursing schools. But they believed otherwise. And now that they have seen for themselves the frustrating reality, I could only offer them “hope” that someday, somehow, the US will open up again for hiring. But that seems to be happening not in the near future. As the immigration is still processing the 2005 approved visas. The backlog is very very high. To my fellow nurses, don’t get discouraged, our profession is not a mere “pot of gold” but a calling to serve people without equating it to materialism! Just do what you have to do. Just consider it a servanthood, which someday will be rewarded! Just do it for the Lord and not for yourselves, not for your “american dream”, not for millions, not for the title RN (rich na!) Forget it! You won’t be rewarded if your thinking is focused on those things. I say again forget it! It’s far from reality..

  • Mai

    WELL, I WAS NOT FORTUNATE ENOUGH WHEN I TOOK THAT CONTROVERSIAL BOARD EXAM, A LOT OF HOSPITALS HAD TURNED OUR APPLICATIONS DOWN FOR THEY BELIEVED THAT WE CHEATED….

    BUT DURING THAT TIME, HOSPITALS DIDNT ASK US ANY PAYMENT WHEN WE APPLIED AS VOLUNTEERS…WE WERE LUCKY IN THAT CASE…THEN AFTER 3 MONTHS, THE HOSPITAL ABSORBED US AND WE GOT PAID…

    A YEAR AFTER, THERE WAS A RAPID CHANGE IN ALL HOSPITALS’ POLICY, VOLUNTEERS WERE THE ONES PAYING THE HOSP…TOO BAD THAT UNTIL NOW THIS HOSP PRACTICE IS NOT SCRUTINIZED BY GOVT, OR PNA ADMINISTRATORS…

  • chris

    STRIKE FOR A BETTER PAYMENT ORGANIZE OTHERS AND SO YOU BECAME STRONGER!!!

  • CHRISTIAN OF THE WORLD

    NURSE VOLUNTEERING IN OWN COUNTRY THATS A BIG BUSINESS FOR PHILIPPINO HOSPITALS THEY ALLSO FEED THE POLITICIANS OF ANY GOVERMENT! STRIKE FOR A BETTER DAY IN NURSING LIFE!