• 200,000 registered nurses are jobless

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    Over 200,000 registered nurses are jobless as the Aquino administration failed to increase the number of nurses in the government hospitals.

    Gloria Amariego, chief nurse at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), said the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) have been urging the Aquino administration through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to increase the number of nurses not only in PGH but in all government hospitals in the country so that the practicing nurses could work with quality on their patients.

    Unfortunately, DBM Sec. Florencio “Butch” Abad never considered PNA’s request, Amariego said.

    She said the present practice is that each nurse is taking care of around 30 patients or more per duty.

    The ideal ratio for the nurse to ensure quality and safe care for their patients should be 1 nurse per 12 patients, she stressed.

    The more than 200,000 registered nurses are working different jobs far from health work according to PNA data.

    PNA said there are 500,000 registered nurses who are working both in the government and private hospitals.

    The problem is majority of them if not all are receiving low monthly salary, according to PNA president Paulita Cruz.

    Cruz said even the nurses in the government hospitals are receiving a maximum of P18,000 per month, which is under the category of Salary Grade 11.

    That is lower than SG 15 or more than P24,000 as stipulated in Republic Act 9173 otherwise known as Philippine Nursing Act.

    The RA 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers has pegged that the starting pay of nurses in the government hospitals must be around P26,000.

    A proposed law called Comprehensive Nursing Act has covered that nurses at private hospitals also receive the starting salary of more than P26,000 like their counterparts in the government hospitals.

    The proposed law has been gathering dust at the Philippine Senate where Senate President Franklin Drilon has to affix his signature so that it will be transferred to the Bicameral Conference Committee for final approval. Pres. Aquino will have to give his approval for it to become a law before he steps down on June 30.

    While it true that the PNA has been prodding Congress to pass the proposed Comprehensive Nursing Law, the group is extremely disappointed for the failure of the government to abide and implement both RA 7305 and RA 9173.

    PNA is hoping that the proposed Comprehensive Nursing Law will be become a law before Aquino ends his term, Cruz said.

    At the same time, PNA is also hoping that the incoming Duterte administration will finally implement RAs 7305 and 9173.

    NELSON c. BADILLA

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    6 Comments

    1. Juan T. Delacruz on

      There were two issues mentioned in this article and those are nurses being underpaid and the 200,000 registered nurses working in different jobs far from medical fields. In other words, they are not gainfully employed. I would blame all these to the government, to PNoy and Abad. They could have pumped more money into the economy by building health care infrastructures that would have improved health care for the people. It would created so many jobs that stimulate the economy. They should have done this in Education as well, to prepare younger generation of Filipinos to be more competitive when applying for jobs overseas.I think they are more interested in their PDAF allocation, the money they can put into their pockets instead of going to the people, in general.

    2. It is pretty obvious that nurses in the Philippines are overworked and grossly underpaid compared to their professional peers in the more advanced countries such as over here in the United States.

      I would be very worried about the quality and the safetiness of my hospitalization if I were a patient in the Philippines right now. The ratio of 30 patients to 1 nurse is very unsafe. I speak with knowledge and authority because I have been working in health care here in the U.S. for around 35 years. Any nurse anywhere cannot provide a safe and high quality of nursing care if he/she has 30 patients under his/her care during a hospital shift. It is just ridiculously unsafe. You don’t need inside knowledge to realize how unsafe things are in Philippine government run and funded hospitals.

      Patient observations, assessments, bedside care, health education in addition to giving error-free medications are all equally important in successfully managing a hospitalized patient. When a professional nurse has 30 patients, it would be ridiculous to expect from an overworked nurse to carefully and completely document everything that is required for documentation.

      Over here in the State of California, nurses in the Medical-Surgical units in acute care hospitals (I believe these hospitals are called “Tertiary Care Hospitals” in the Philippines) cannot legally be assigned with more than 5 patients in a given shift. In many hospitals in California there are special nurses whose sole duty is the “break reliever.” This special nurse receives report from a nurse who is about to take a lunch or dinner break and takes care of the patients while the nurse is on meal break. This nurse then reports to the nurse after the nurse’s meal break.

      Nurses in California’s large metropolitan areas are well compensated although I don’t expect nurses in the Philippines to get paid equally or near the level of compensations of nurses in the U.S. and in other advanced Western countries, but nurses in the Philippines deserve and should receive higher salaries compared to what they are currently being paid.

      • In addition, I urge His Excellency PDu (President Duterte) to immediately tackle this vexing high unemployment rate of nurses in the Philippines once he assumes office.

      • While I agree that nurses in the Philippines are overworked and underpaid, their situation should not be compared to California. The same will be true for teachers, engineers, and other professionals.
        It’s good to increase the salary of all employees, public and private. However, where will the government get the money? The BIR, Customs and other tax collections do not add up to the 3.0+ trillion budget.Then there are plans to lower the income tax which would result in loss of revenue.

        For a better comparison, we should use the average of the Southeast Asian countries or those with gross domestic product similar to the Philippines.

        Also, why would high school graduates take up nursing if there are so many unemployed? Plus, there are so many who fail the board exams too. May be it’s the dream and hope that they will somehow be lucky and find employement abroad?

    3. Welcome to the Philippines where the government only cares about enriching themselves.

      Most of the congress is once again ruled by the do nothing Liberal Party.

      The people get the government they deserve

      Enjoy