If hospitals will not be able to accommodate all of the 324,520 (and still counting) underemployed/unemployed registered nurses in the Philippines, then why is it not possible to close down all nursing schools, at least temporarily?
This was the question that dawned on me when I watched a news feature on T.V. about a male volunteer nurse who have to work as a “kariton boy” just to earn money to pay for his clinical experience. Seriously, the ironic pay-before-volunteering or pay-before-training scheme on our hospitals is taking its toll on the local nursing industry. It’s like government corruption and oppression at its finest. I pity every nursing graduate who have to undergo this inhumane employment process when all they want to do is to provide quality care for our sick and dying patients.
But how can we solve this?
Through DOH memorandum or House Bills preventing hospitals from hiring volunteer nurses or requiring them to pay for trainings? I doubt it. We all know how laws are being implemented in the Philippines so don’t even ask me why.
By closing down nursing schools which have been performing below the CHED standards? It has been done before but the remaining schools keep on opening its doors for all aspiring student-nurses, not even bothering to inform them about the harsh facts of nursing employment nowadays. Admit it or not, nursing schools are just there for the money and graduating from them is the be all and end all of the responsibilities they have for you as an alumni.
How about temporarily closing down a majority of nursing schools in the country? Or setting a higher standard of passing for new nursing graduates?
I know it’s not at all possible because to do that, we will sacrifice the jobs of few clinical instructors, deans, and teachers for the benefit of the majority. Not only that, we will also might block those dreams of students who really have the heart to become a nurse. But if we will not impose STRICTER REGULATIONS on schools offering B.S. Nursing in the Philippines, how we will be able to help those who are already struggling in the real world? If we will let supply to continuously exceed the demand for Nursing, then how can we create feasible jobs that will accommodate most, if not all, of our nursing graduates who are about to reach its half a million mark? Well, for me, we can consider these three options:
1. Close down all nursing schools except for the top ten schools considered by CHED as centers of excellence in nursing education.
2. In addition to a written NLE, graduates of B.S. Nursing should also be required to pass a more rigorous PRACTICAL EXAM to at least identify who are the ones deserving of the title or even discourage some high school graduates from pursuing the Nursing education.
3. Dissolve B.S. Nursing program in ALL schools in the Philippines temporarily. We can wait for about 5 years , 10 years or depending on the government’s discretion when will the nursing schools offer the program again. Through this process, we will be able to provide the government ample time to search for more employment opportunities that will give advantage to ALL our licensed nurses.
I know some of you might raise your eye brows or even mock my suggestions. But I still believe that in solving a problem, we don’t need to use temporary remedies. It’s like cutting the grass by its leaves but not pulling it by its roots. If even laws that our dear lawmakers have passed will not be enough to provide better future for our abused and exploited nurses, then how far can we get from here? If you consider my suggestions not feasible, then what is the best way that can we do to help in our nurses’ plight? …Prayers? We can pray as long as we want but prayer without action is futile. What we need is ACTION backed up by principles and understanding of our nurses’ situation. And we better act NOW.