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True love does not come by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.



Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Filipino Nurses: Where art thou? (from Sir Ej)

People, especially nurses, say, "The pasture is greener on the other side."

True to its geographic and economic stability, the Philippines has long been a third world country. It has endured countless occupancies; from the Spaniards, who brought Christianity as a religion into this fair land, to the Japanese, who introduced sushi as a main dish, to the Americans, who spread capitalism as a means of international survival. Undermining the barter between and among other lesser nations, the Chinese who introduced gunpowder, thus, the cause of the proliferation of modern-day armory, and the Arabs, the people who spread Muslim as a religion.

For so long, the Philippines has not known its identity. With countless times, having been given the chances of growth and stability, it has only known one thing: Dollars.

Embedded in every Filipino is the chance and choice of a better life. I use the term chance, for so many Filipinos, rich and poor, have been given that opportunity to migrate and flourish as a "western citizen." The term choice, on the other hand, depicts a much lighter perspective on the Filipino citizen.
Translation: He has enough money to go there anytime and be a hard working "western citizen", but in the Philippines, he's filthy rich.

And for the last 10 years, one thing has become a mass hysteria for the Filipinos: Nursing.

Yes, the course which teaches the art and science of caring, has been abused by every Filipino citizen there is.

Parent: So, son, what course do you plan on taking on for college?
Son (high school graduate): I think i want to pursue my dream of being an architect. Yeah, probably architecture or fine arts.
Parent: Are you sure?
Son: Yes, of course. I could build a house for both you and mom. Wouldn't that be great?
Parent: Yeah.. (smirking) But you know son, it would be better if you took up nursing. it's in demand in US and other countries abroad! I mean, you don't have to build us a house. You could just send the money then, and we'll build it for you!
Son: (sluggishly agrees, nods head in approval)

You see, ever since the boom of this profession, it has spread like a wild fire. And every single Filipino has thought of one thing: The Great American Dream.

However, in truth and in fact, it doesn't matter if it isn't the States!? There's always the United Kingdom, or Australia, or Ireland, or even New Zealand. If it doesn't work out? There will always be Asia - Singapore, UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc. Filipinos don't care!? So long as their sons and daughters leave this wretched hole, everything is fine.

Sure, you will always here parents say, "Pinapagaral ka namin dahil yan lang ang tanging kayamanan na kaya naming ibigay."
Translation: Study hard and finish Nursing or I'll kill you!

This hysteria has been going on for so long. People living in the rural areas, they would be willing to sell even the last pig and carabao just to send their sons and daughters to school. And yes, they should be taking up Nursing, of course.

And then..

Reality strikes..

Ain't it a bitch!?

Newly grad nursing students have to take up the Board Exam.
Sure, they try their best to make it, while some, sorry to say, fail even after taking the exam 5 times.

Like i said, reality bites.

And so, they become professionals. Trying earnestly to make a living, saving enough money to buy the carabao they sold 4 years ago. But what do the parents say?

Parent: My god son! You sure made us proud! Good thing you got the exam the 4th time around!
Son: Yeah, good thing, Dad. It was really hard! I told you i never wanted Nursing, that's why it was so hard for me.
Parent: It's ok son. At least you did your best, and now, you're a Registered Nurse.
Now you can go abroad!

I wish it was that easy.

And so, the journey continues...

Through hell and high water, these brave, young souls try to conquer the world of health-care. And when they do, they are a mere step away from acquiring that goal - leaving the Philippines.

The term 'brain drain' has been used countless times to describe a natural occurring phenomenon, particularly in developing countries, where their professionals migrate to other regions of the world to work. And numerous times have we been left with close to nothing. Our professionals, especially those who have been endowed with the intellect and the technical know-how, through the years, have left this country in search for a much "brighter future."

In Nursing, such term could and should not be used anymore, for using such a term to describe the exodus of our beloved Filipino Nurses, would be an understatement. Today, particularly for our Nurses, we use the term "Brain Hemorrhage."

This country has been bled dry because of the rapid turnover rates we have in the hospitals. Be it government or private, these health care institutions have, and still is, experiencing the further decrease in manpower, especially in every Nursing Service there is. As a result, the quality of health care has been compromised. Patients have had complaints of the kind of service other hospitals have been giving.

And why is this?

The pool of nurses we are left with here gets younger and younger each year. Over the last 10 years, the average stay of a Filipino nurse has gone down to 1.4 years. So just imagine, a newly trained nurse, who has stayed only for a year, given the opportunity and the means to leave, would not have the patience and the dedication to pursue such a profession in this country. And the result, hiring of a younger neophyte.

Furthermore, not only do we compromise the quality of service we provide, more so, the quality of education being given to Nursing-hopefuls. The Clinical Instructors, who have mastered the several areas in Nursing, have also migrated. Not only that, quality of education is also compromised by the kind of institution offering the course. Since the boom of this profession, Nursing Schools have been sprouting like mushrooms in the wild. Even technical schools now offer this course!

Who could blame them for leaving? In Singapore alone, the basic salary of a nurse increases by 30% compared to the meager P13, 000 given by government hospitals. If a nurse chooses to migrate to Saudi Arabia, his salary will increase by 60%. In Australia, Filipino nurses' salaries increase by 120%. In the United Kingdom, their salaried increase by 150%. And of course, in the US, a normal Filipino nurse salary increases by a whopping 200%. So now tell me, who is there to blame? No one. Such rapid exodus could simply be attributed to a country's economic stability, and it is saddening.

Another point of consideration, is the quality of nurses that we export. Granted, there is no possible way to stopping the migration of Filipino nurses. However, the question really is, have we really produced effective and efficient nurses, capable of working abroad? Yes, perhaps. And maybe No. Perhaps we should've considered that as well.

I read an article once and there was this Nurse, a graduate of batch 2004 who was given the chance to leave a year after. This female nurse, who apparently, only stood 5'1", was stationed in the Intensive Care Unit. Imagine a petite lady, carrying a 200-plus pound patient in the ICU? And you know what happened? One of her vertebral disks slipped and was sent back home, with no money, no savings whatsoever. When asked where she graduated, she simply graduated from a new technical school, built to cater to the demand for nursing students. Probably Proper Body Mechanics was not taught in that school? I dunno.

Who is there to blame about all this? Nobody.

And how are these valiant nurses.

Good. I hope.

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