For most people, the explosion of feed hospital volunteerism by registered nurses all over the country is considered as news, but for thousands of professional nurses it is a lifestyle. An absurd reality where the one serving is also the one spending money for offering one’s services.
It’s like selling your cellphone but instead of receiving payment, you will also be the one paying the buyer in addition to giving him the gadget. Sounds absolutely insane, right?
It is. But that did not stop countless of Filipino nurses from giving in to the preposterous proposition of both government and private hospitals all around the metro for the sake of gathering experience in hopes that it will help them to finally land a paying job. Including me, my classmates in college and most probably one of your friends, relatives or even your own child.
Now, with the explosion of this ‘shocking’ news, everybody’s acting all concerned and affected (politicians, the media, even our beloved PNA) when in fact, they’ve been turning a blind eye on the problem for YEARS now. Call me an idealist but I think that it’s impossible for the media, hospital associations and even most government officials to not be aware of such injustice unless they’ve been living in a desolate cave without TV, radio, internet connection and cellphone signal for at least 4 years now.
And seriously, does it really have to take a physically abused and raped volunteer nurse to finally drill an opening in the thick dome of secrecy that this shameless exploitation is enveloped?
Just yesterday, a segment in GMA 7’s Reporter’s Notebook aired a heart-wrenching special segment about volunteer nurses paying fees just so they can practice in the hospital. So many colleagues can relate to the story that one of my friends even cried upon watching the episode.
Some cynics may say that none of these will happen if no one will allow such treatment. It’s easy to not experience being overworked with negative salary:
Just don’t do it. Do not apply, do not pay, do not be fooled by these well-oiled mammoth institutions looking for licensed slaves.
But then see, registered nurses took an oath. A pledge made just a few moments after passing the dreaded board exam knowing that they will be receiving their sought-after license. And for some, it is a promise they are willing to uphold no matter what. So many skilled and intelligent nurses are now in jobs not related with the path they have vowed to uphold but some are, to the point that they do it without salary or allowance, just so they can still practice the profession and help care for humanity.
It is not stupidity that brought these registered professionals to where they are now, uncompensated and begging for justice and respect. It is passion, it is the love for their profession that wakes them up every morning and takes them through the night shift. It is their concern for the sick that makes them do the unspeakable things nurses do just to get through the day because without monetary reimbursement, what else is there?
So Philippines, I am speaking to you. Start caring for your professionals, not only nurses but every under-appreciated, unrewarded job there is in the country, for when the day comes that there are already too few of them, gone from the exhaustion of being used and abused, you might by then realize your mistake way too late.
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