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Monday, September 24, 2012

Young Blood: Hello, new nurses

By Gerardale Ann Apa Balintec

Philippine Daily Inquirer

I know you have been waiting and praying for this moment. Congratulations for passing the teeth-gnashing and knee-buckling National Licensure Exam for Nurses!

You’ve worked hard for four long years. If there is a course that is literally earned with blood, sweat and tears, this is it!

Now, you can party all night without feeling guilty. Join your alma mater’s torch parade. Take a grand vacation if you must. And when all the congratulations have faded and the parties have ended, I welcome you back to the real world.

You will now realize that:

1. To get a spot as a volunteer nurse, you have to pay up or find a powerful backer.

Getting good grades back in college doesn’t really matter in the battlefield. You may be your batch’s best in related learning experience, or even the summa cum laude, but if you don’t have the right connections, you won’t get anywhere.

2. You will be enticed to take up training courses and exams. The licenses you get from there will eventually expire even before you land your first real job.

I have friends who are US RNs (registered nurses) but have never set foot on American soil. They have IELT’s band 7 plus scores but are stuck in call centers. Some have basic life support and advance cardiac life support licenses, etc., but have never gotten to practice their skills in a hospital setting.

These licenses are expensive, yet nurses collect them like badges on a Boy/Girl Scout’s uniform. They will look impressive in your wallet and listed on your resumé, but as I said, without the right connections, these are all just learning experiences.

3. Reunions with fellow nurses are like meetings with the labor union.

All you’ll ever hear is whining about the current unemployment rate. Some are lucky to be employed or even underemployed, but they are overworked and underpaid.

When nurses gather around sipping expensive cups of coffee, they are most likely complaining about their working conditions or lack thereof. At the back of their mind, they are calculating the things they will need to sacrifice to pay off the very expensive cup of coffee they just had. Or lamenting the long hours they put in just to buy it.

4. The white uniform is not as glamorous as it once looked.

You’ll get screamed at or puked on, and you’ll even pee in your clothes after holding your bladder throughout an 8-hour shift either because there is no decent loo in the hospital you are serving or your unit is understaffed.

Your white uniform may be too tight, old and yellowed already, or your white shoes may also be showing signs of wear and tear, but you’d hate to ask your parents for money to buy new ones. After all, you have already graduated and are supposed to be “working” and earning.

5. Non-nursing service personnel receive salaries bigger than yours.

He/She has SSS, GSIS, Pag-Ibig, PhilHealth and random bonuses while you are battling viruses and bacteria without enough money for your own health insurance, vitamins, or just a disposable mask.

While working as a reliever nurse in a mall, I was paid P250 a day. To my horror, I learned that the high school graduate who was working as our agency’s secretary is paid the same amount. My friend, who is a probationary nurse, is paid P230 a day.

You went to college for four years and you have a diploma to show for it. You now also have your nurse’s license on top of your IVF, BLS, ACLS, dialysis, etc. licenses, but your service is often free. Sometimes you get paid an allowance that is less than what you got way back when you were in college.

6. Being a volunteer, probationary, reliever, contractual, or trainee nurse is not considered working experience.

How can you get out of this country without paid experience? I learned this the hard way when my application for employment in a hospital abroad was denied because I did not have paid working experience. This is the reason many of us agree to be a slave to hospitals that take advantage of our situation.

7. You need a raket to survive.

We girls need makeup and sundry toiletries. As a nurse, you have to look good and smell good. This boosts your self-esteem and self-image. Patients always want to see their nurses looking like angels. But if you are financially hard-up, how can you afford these little luxuries?

I survived my days as a volunteer by selling anything from contact lenses to scrub suits. My colleagues have other raket such as selling or pautang of pre-ordered clothes and other counterfeit goods on their online stores or in the hospital. Others do home service for intravenous glutathione injections.

We try our best to survive.

8. On night shifts and rainy days, only a few volunteers show up.

These occasions will make up your worst duties. Your staff nurse will be busy snoring while you are left to fend for yourself with over 50 patients in your ward.

The general rule is: Wake up your staff nurse only if a patient is dying. If there is no need for CPR, don’t rouse him/her from his/her sweet dreams.

9. Nurses don’t get assigned only to the ER, DR, or ward. Be prepared to work in the stock room, medical laboratory, kitchen and laundry. Sometimes you will also be assigned to perform secretarial duties.

Admit it. You are dispensable. You are a dime a dozen. If you don’t agree with the working conditions, you can leave. Many nurses will gladly take your place and do the laundry if you hate doing it. After all, there is no shortage of nurses but an oversupply of and a low demand for them.

10. You should not have followed the herd.

Everyone wanted to be a nurse way back in high school. So you wanted to be a nurse, too. The nursing students all looked gwapo and beautiful. You wanted to be one of them. Now, it’s too late. You already have a degree and your spanking new license.

Because I don’t have the financial capacity to apply for a job abroad or for a student visa, I will stay and serve our country. I have also decided to treat my career in nursing as a hobby. As in any other hobby, I will practice it because it makes me happy. But I can’t trust it to put food on my table or pay the bills that consistently haunt me every month.

Welcome to the sad reality of nursing. I just hope that your story has a happier ending.

Gerardale Ann Apa Balintec, 27, says she is overqualified, underemployed and underpaid.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

ABS-CBNews: BPOs need accountants, nurses, engineers

MANILA, Philippines - The business process outsourcing industry offers job opportunities for new graduates and professionals, such as nurses, accountants and engineers.

Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) president and CEO Benedict Hernandez said the industry offers a hundred thousand IT-BPO jobs for financial analysts, engineers, accountants, doctors and nurses, artists, business graduates, and other professionals on its website WorkAbroadLiveHere.

BPAP launched the career portal to increase awareness of career opportunities in the IT-BPO industry.

BPAP senior executive director Gillian Virata said many still don't know that IT-BPO has 20 different segments, employs 640,000 Filipinos and generated $11 billion in revenues last year.

"We have jobs in IT, software development, customer service, finance and accounting, health care, legal, creative services, and engineering. New graduates and established professionals don’t have to go abroad for international, well-paying jobs," she said.

To attract potential employees, BPAP created a Facebook page and Twitter account. Hernandez said there has been a positive response from jobseekers so far.

"We are doing this campaign to address a potential talent gap that could impact growth of IT-BPO. There are a lot of amazing opportunities within the industry and the creation of the ‘Work Abroad. Live Here’ portal is just one piece of a larger campaign to acquaint graduates and professionals who are considering a career shift with opportunities in the IT-BPO industry," he said.

Last month, the ADB said it was giving a P27.3 million grant to support skills enhancement for the IT-BPO industry. The funding will go to training programs for college students and professors.

"The Philippines has been the global leader in providing customer relationship management (CRM) voice services since 2010. Now, non-voice services are rapidly expanding. This year, our goal is to generate 120,000 jobs to attain our goal of employing 1.3 million Filipinos by 2016. With the support from our government and the other institutions, we expect to meet that goal," Hernandez said.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tight US market for nurses seen until 2020

Idle Filipino nurses now 300,000, says solon

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino nurses may have difficulty entering the US labor market until 2020, according to party-list Rep. Arnel Ty.

"Right now, they have ample supply of US-educated nurses," said Ty, the representative in Congress of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers' Association (LPG-MA).

In a statement, Ty cited statistics from America's National Council of State Boards of Nursing which show that the US produced close to a million nurses from 2006 to 2011.

Ty said the US demand for Filipino and other foreign nurses may start to recover in 8 years when thousands of US-based nurses would have retired.

The US first encountered a shortage of nurses in 1998. This created a surge in number of Filipino nursing graduates hoping to get a career in the US.

However, the gap has since been filled by the large increase in the number of American nurses, plus a deluge of foreign-educated practitioners.

Due to the huge oversupply of nurses in the Philippines, both the Commission on Higher Education and the Professional Regulation Commission have been urging high school graduates to shun nursing.

Late response

Ty blamed regulators for their late response to labor market conditions.

"They should be more aggressive in researching and projecting future labor market conditions, both here and abroad, to help guide young Filipinos as to potential career paths," he said.

"Regulators are just reacting to what is already happening, such as the apparent glut of nursing graduates. Their late advisories would be more valuable once these are predictive and instructive, rather than merely reactive," Ty said.

From 1995 to 2011, Ty said a total of 145,081 Filipino nurses sought to practice their profession in America by taking for the first time (excluding repeaters) the US licensure exam, or NCLEX.

However, Ty said that "from 2006 to 2011 alone, a total of 938,552 US nursing graduates also took the NCLEX for the first time."

Special jobs plan

Ty said he has been pushing for a new law that "would establish a special local jobs plan for idle Filipino nurses, now estimated at more than 300,000."

He has filed House Bill 4582, which seeks an expanded version of the Nurses Assigned in Rural Service or NARS, "the short-lived Philippine government project that enlisted nurses to improve healthcare in poverty-stricken towns."

Ty's said the Special Program for the Employment of Nurses in Urban and Rural Services (NURSE) "would mobilize a total of 10,000 practitioners every year."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NLE Results: 22,760 pass nursing board

MANILA, Philippines—A total of 22,760 out of 67,095 passed the Nurse Licensure Examination, the Professional Regulation Commission announced on Thursday.

The examinations were given by the Board of Nursing in the cities of Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Dagupan, Davao, Iloilo, La Union, Legazpi, Lucena, Nueva Ecija, Pagadian, Pampanga, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga last December, the PRC said.

The board is composed of Carmencita M. Abaquin, chairman; and Leonila A. Faire, Betty F. Merritt, Perla G. Po, Marco Antonio C. Sto.Tomas, Yolanda C. Arugay and Amelia B. Rosales.

Nursing Exam Results for Dec 2011 A-B

Nursing Exam Results for Dec 2011 C-D

Nursing Exam Results for Dec 2011 E-H

Nursing Exam Results for Dec 2011 I-M

Nursing Exam Results for Dec 2011 N-R

Nursing Exam Results for Dec 2011 S-Z


Sunday, December 25, 2011

PRC sees more jobless nurses

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star
Posted at 12/26/2011 8:30 AM | Updated as of 12/26/2011 10:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines - More nurses will be unemployed next year, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) said yesterday.

Marco Sto. Tomas, of the PRC’s Board of Nursing (BON), said the current number of 230,000 jobless and underemployed nurses nationwide is rising.

“Although enrollment in nursing courses is going down, there are still many in the pipeline, considering that 68,000 graduates just took the licensure examination this month,” he said.

Many registered nurses are now willing to work for free or even pay hospitals so they could work and gain the necessary experience to qualify them for employment abroad, he added.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has ordered the PRC, an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment to coordinate with other concerned government agencies and look into the condition of unemployed Filipino nurses.

The DOLE is also looking into coming out with new rules to regulate the “hiring” of nurse volunteers in hospitals and other medical facilities nationwide, she added.

No regulation exists to stop or penalize government and private hospitals from using the services of licensed nurses for free, Baldoz said.

Sto. Tomas said the PRC is now pushing for the implementation of the so-called Hastening Options for Productivity and Employment (HOPE) for Filipino nurses, he added.

“The program aims to promote entrepreneurship putting up their own business for Filipinos nurses who are now having difficulty finding employment,” he said.

The PRC and other concerned government agencies are exerting efforts to improve the lives of nurses, including the unemployed, he added.

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