RN-HEALS Program: Another “Band-Aid” Solution?

Last 2010, the Department of Health (DOH) in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) catapulted an employment-generating project for thousands of Filipino registered nurses who were either underemployed or unemployed. Dubbed as “RN-HEALS” (Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service), the latest program is a far cry from its previous version (NARS project) last 2009 which only provided 6 months of combined community and hospital experience. It was estimated that it would provide almost 200, 000 Filipino registered nurses an opportunity to gain one year of comprehensive clinical experience. However, only a meager 25,000 (or less) registered nurses got the chance to work during the previous two batches, failing to keep up with the current growth of unemployed/underemployed nurses in the country, which is about to reach its half a million mark this year. Given the present scenario, is RN-HEALS enough to solve both issues of health deficits and nursing unemployment in the country? Or is it just another “band-aid” solution from a hard working government equally overwhelmed by our growing number of nurses? 

Delayed Compensation

During the first three months after the program commenced last February, 2011, DOH was flooded with rants from nurses complaining about the delayed release of their monthly stipends. According to Department Order 2011-0239 of the Department of Health, successful applicants shall receive 8,000 PHP  each month while midwives will receive 6,000 pesos per month. Also, the Local Government Units will give successful applicants an amount of 2,000 pesos in addition to other benefits like PhilHealth Insurance of 1,200 pesos per year, Group Accident Insurance enrollment of 500 pesos per year, and certificate of completion after satisfactory completion of the project. But the issue lies on whether all of these mentioned benefits are  evenly distributed or not. DOH Assistant Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag cleared that the issue of delayed stipend last year started on the ‘budget system’ of the DoH and in the “processes” related to it which has been fixed since then. However, the persistence of this issue has been reported in some parts of the country, strongly indicating that the root cause of the problem still remains up to now.

Nepotism and the The Undying “Backer System”

When RN-HEALS Batch 2 was launched late 2011, a lot of hopefuls were dismayed due to several changes  made on the application process. The online application was abolished and only selected tertiary hospitals of DOH were open for RN-HEALS application. And to add further insult to a lot of fresh nursing graduates, high priority was given to those who already volunteered on the participating hospitals. Some frustrated nurses also blurted out that a fair chance for them to be accepted dwindled even more because the new application process increased the vulnerability of the RN-HEALS program to be dominated by those who rely most on nepotism and the notorious “backer system”. Furthermore, it has also been confirmed that previous participants from the first batch were able to extend their contract to work for another year or two, killing the hopes of those who are still waiting for an equal chance of clinical exposure. This phenomenon has resulted in a seemingly unequal distribution of opportunities for nurses hoping to be part of the said program.

RN-HEALS Batch 3

Despite flaws and unresolved issues, the RN-HEALS Batch 3 is said to be opening its doors once more for another 1,900 registered nurses this new year. Dr. Sofia S. Chua, the chief of the Field Health Operations of DOH-CHD 6, disclosed the news in their consultative meeting for technical updates along with their media partners held in Iloilo City. This is to augment the human resource need for skilled and experience nurses that will serve in rural communities. According to reports, here’s how you can apply for the said program:

Prepare and attach the following documents and email them at: [email protected]

  • Application Letter
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Transcript of Record
  • PRC License

And use the format below as your subject:

PROVINCE_MUNICIPALITY/CITY_NAME_AGE_YEAR (Passed Board Exam)

*For more information about RNHEALS 3 application, follow this link: http://nurseslabs.com/5381/rnheals-3-to-employ-more-nurses-this-2012/

With the current number of registered nurses jostling their way for an equal opportunity to gain clinical experience, it is crystal clear that the RN-HEALS project remains insufficient and incapable of providing  long-term remedy for thousands of nurses hungry for a regular employment. The irony of our country’s poor health status and bloated nursing supply is something not to be taken for granted. This is not a wake-up call to totally ban the nursing course but rather, a predicament that calls for the government to generate more feasible nursing opportunities and for thousands of registered nurses to persevere, work hard, and be creative in supporting one’s self. Sooner or later, a viable cure, and not just a “band-aid” solution, will be on its way for our beloved nurses.

© 2012, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.

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  • pixot

    hi! is RN Heals 3 available nationwide?

  • jaem

    RNHeals Batch 1 stipend is still delayed up to now. November Stipend had just been released today! This has been happening for a long time. Never have we received the stipend on time. Its always more than a month delayed.

  • jo

    guys be considerate and patient.stipend was probably delayed due to delayed submission of dtrs!im an rnheals too. lets be responsible ourselves. dont put the blame on others.happy new year!

    • regie

      well, there should not have been a delay in the submission of dtrs in the first place.

  • rj

    im from the 1st batch of rnheals nurses…aside from stipend delays.. we don’t even have “bonuses” or 13th month pays, no holidays,no gifts, no giveaways,no everything…it’s like we’re an isolated aliens in our municipality.. our municipality didn’t give us the “2 Thousand pesos allowance”. and most of all we don’t even have a clear future work or extensions after this project.. i hope PNoy has an answer for this.

    • mike

      oo nga bro,
      from btach 1 din ako at wala man lang pakunswelo nung pasko na kahit ano.

      yung 8k lang talaga,

      ok sana kung yung mga BOSS mo MAY GINAWA para kahit papano maramdaman mo na kahit di na grant yung mga bonuses, etc… STILL may ginawa sila para satin. ang problema kasi………….

      RNHEALS……

      GOOD IN PAPERS!!!

    • hua

      be thankful to God that you had this opportunity at least you have a salary kesa wala compared to others na volunteer nurses lang and still not given the chance to work WITH compensation kahit bonus lang wala sila..

  • piggyRN

    guys, look at the brighter side.if our government did not made any project, many of our new nurses have no jobs nowadays…swerte pa rin kayo at napasama kayo sa project na yan, marami pa ring naglalaway sa kinalalagyan nyo…but still, I think DOH & DOLE had lack of time in preparing for this project. there are institution that caters RNheals have an overwhelming numbers of participants, they even outnumbered the actual nursing service staff.

  • rnhealsako

    Excerpt: “the Local Government Units will give successful applicants an amount of 2,000 pesos in addition to other benefits…” please rephrase this to “the Local Government Units are ENCOURAGED to give successful applicants an amount of 2,000php in addition to other benefits..” –PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE DIFFERENCE.

    Excerpt: “The online application was abolished and only selected tertiary hospitals of DOH were open for RN-HEALS application. And to add further insult to a lot of fresh nursing graduates, high priority was given to those who already volunteered on the participating hospitals.” –VOLUNTEERS FROM DIFFERENT HOSPITALS MAY BE GIVEN PRIORITY BECAUSE THEY HAVE LONG BEEN VOLUNTEERS (MEANING WITHOUT SALARY/ALLOWANCE THEY ARE WORKING FOR QUITE SOME TIME)

    AS FOR THE STIPEND DELAY: SOMETIMES THE DELAY OF SUBMISSION of DTRs AND JOURNAL IS ALSO A FACTOR.

    Maybe RNheals is not the perfect solution for the growing unemployed/underemployed nurses in our country but this is a forward strategy so that we can have the experiences we need for the future.

    And for us, RNheals of the 2 batches, let us continue to have the discipline Florence Nightingale have. The discipline to wear our ID at all times and the patience to follow the rules and regulations the RNheals and us have agreed from the beginning. MINSAN NAKAKALIMUTAN NA NATIN YON. Let us cherish the months we have with RNheals.
    🙂

  • dragon

    not only that deductions are made from the stipend..
    kaya nga stipend diba fixed amount..
    daming holidays na binawas tapos walang clear explanation kung san mapupunta ung mga binawas..

  • rnheals

    we are not entitled for any bonuses nor 13th month pay its because we are not employed..we have no direct employeer, TRAINING ang tawag sa kung anong meron tayo…yet we are utilized as staff nurse in hospitals and rhu due to understaffing of health institutions despite our designation as nurse-trainee..the 8k a month is not a salary..ALLOWANCE ang tawag don accdg to DOH..dont expect for more benefits.

  • pretty_07

    [email protected]” is a dead email address. you guys have tried sending an email? [email protected] kept on replying..haha!

    • pretty_07

      my bad, it’s [email protected] but still, it doesn’t work. same thing goes.

  • rnhealsako

    for RNheals in Calabarzon region, follow their FB page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002104221512

  • “And to add further insult to a lot of fresh nursing graduates, high priority was given to those who already volunteered on the participating hospitals.”

    INSULT? I don’t mean to sound rude, but OF COURSE previous volunteers will be given priority to be entered into the program. These are the nurses who have already trained and is well-versed with the hospital environment that they have worked at without compensation. I’ll be damned if doe-eyed freshly scrubbed nurses from nowhere comes in and take the spot of those who have selflessly endured and loyally served the hospital for months, if not years.

    My advice to fresh nursing graduates is to learn to be patient and work hard for your goals. Not everything will be handed to you in a silver platter. Some things are to be worked for, and let me tell you, the feeling of success after hardship and strife is all the more sweeter.

  • nosuchthingasvolunteers

    You are being rude.

    The program was ideally launched to at least give equal opportunity to ALL unemployed nurses.Giving priority to those who have ‘served’ and ‘volunteered’ over those who have no connection is an act of nepotism.If you justify your actions as being rightful spot placers than those who are fresh graduates,then you fail to grasp the concept that we are all entitled to fair employment.Don’t say you are fit and the rightful persons to be placed just because you have rendered your services.

    Fact is,you have been taken advantage of.And the way to get even with the hospital that enslaved you and took advantage of you is to get employed through a program that seeks to abolish the very essence of false volunteerism.

    Now,miss,justifying that those who have rendered ‘volunteer’ services should be given priority over those who followed bureaucracy is preposterous!How unprofessional can you be justifying something wrong instead of correcting and standing up to the fundamental rights of our profession?

    Keep on volunteering then and get yourself abused.That will certainly keep the profession from being taken advantage of.

    You worked without compensation and that was your decision.Don’t blame others for dreaming of equality in employment.Hadlang ka sa pagbabago.

    • regie

      Tama!

      • Ross

        Yeah.. It should be equal…

        Isn’t our four years in college and taking the nle an enough product of hard work?? I don’t wanna be stupid just to get a job… We all deserve to be a staff nurse I – it’s a newbie position… Rn heals was also made for new passers to be trained and work efficiently as a nurse…

        So then, for fresh graduates.. Just be patient we’ll all get there! We can get over the pressure of false volunteerism!
        🙂

    • boom

      priority should be given to those nurses who have graduated years ago and still haven’t found a nursing job. unfair na man na makakuha agad ng trabaho ang fresh graduates tapos yung graduate two years ago na nagtitiis lang na mag volunteer ay hindi.

      • Rnako

        There’s shouldn’t be no priority… Volunteer is different from training… Training is what counts! Volunteer is when u selflessly submit yourself.. Never ask for anything in return.. As said earlier it’s a choice… ADVANTAGE would be the correct term rather than PRIORITY.. Since they are exposed… 🙂

        • Rnako

          There’s should be no priority… Volunteer is different from training… Training is what counts! Volunteer is when u selflessly submit yourself.. Never ask for anything in return.. As said earlier it’s a choice… ADVANTAGE would be the correct term rather than PRIORITY.. Since they are exposed… 🙂

  • kel

    from rnheals batch 1 ako,

    ang mahirap dito ay OVER WORK, and LESS COMPENSATION.

    pansin ko kasi pag-trabaho pinapasa samin kahit di naman talaga namin trabaho(RHU Setting)
    sa hospital setting ganun din. bukod sa may hawak ka ng mga pasyente na imomonitor mo, i-aattend mo yung mga calls at irerefer sa rod, utusan ka ng mga staff.

    at lalo nung Christmas, sila nagkakagulo sa mga tokens na nakukuha nila pero kami ng mga ka batch ko, ayun ala lang parang hangin lang…

  • hua

    Be PATIENT fresh graduates..Relax!work hard for you to have this opportunity. Wag nyo nmn i-down ang volunteers porket volunteers..still they have the right to be employed.
    God bless us all…

  • A Band Aid relationship is the type of involvement that seeks quick relief from the pangs of loneliness. In the inability to find meaningful connection, this type of relationship choice serves as a temporary means to an end. It’s often employed when the desire for partnership is paramount, and the substance and quality of that partnership, is secondary.