Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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.

Another video, this time from ABS-CBN regarding nurse's protest against such inhumane treatment from hospitals demanding money from would-be volunteers. (Click on the link to watch.)

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.


Anonymous said...

I volunteered once for a government hospital in Manila. The irony is that I live in Bulacan and believe me I travel to and from the place where I live to the hospital five days a week regardless of the time. My mother was asking why I was even doing it. I don't even get a food allowance. Once, when the emergency room was in need of an extra nurse I was transferred to the ER from the medical ward. There were only three nurses and of course doctors who only wants to come out if it was really an "emergency". So it really was up to the nurses to do the job from 10 pm to 6 am. I didn't even noticed the time when I was working the whole shift, I just simply didn't care. Because there were only two reasons why I was there: 1. I am happy with my profession 2. Even though I know I wouldn't get paid, it is not excuse for me to be lax on my job, after all paid or not paid someone's life depends on my hands. I totally agree with you that nurse volunteerism is not an act out of stupidity, young nurses do not simply want experience to go abroad, we are also scared that we might lose our skills, the advancements in the field of medicine seems to travel like the speed of light. The government or even the private agencies shouldn't make this as an excuse to exploit registered nurses. The 10,000 jobs that DOLE is giving out as "jobs" is just a way to lose the focus of the case, after all what they were planning to compensate the nurses with was an 8000 peso allowance. Enough already. We are nurses and we've had several units in psychology, we're not as dumb as you think we are.

Anonymous said...

I am also experienced to volunteer in both government and private hospital.I just want to share my insights about volunteerism here in our country. A few questions came out on my mind when I was still a volunteer. One of the hospital janitor talked to me and asked how much salary I get in this hospital? suddenly I just figured out why this janitor keep on asking me like this, then he said that I shouldn't treated like this because I am a professional and yet I don't get even pay for my service. He said How thankful He was because he is just a janitor and not a nurse like me. He get paid because he holds his map to clean the hospital and me? I hold the patient's life. On that day I felt degraded , I refused to become a volunteer nurse and searched for other nursing opportunity.

Anonymous said...

i haven't experience having volunteered to hospital but I'm part of the many Registered Nurses who worked in a different field to earn money for a living.I've worked in a call center because i don't want to pay the hospital to gain experience.Suddenly as time goes by,I've realized that many of my nurse friends undergone volunteerism to become staff nurse.So sad but that's the reality happening nowadays here in the Philippines...

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just take advantage of the numerous nurses that we have. Hospitals complain that they are understaffed or their employees are not enough but there are a lot of nurses applying for volunteer duties. It is already okay for us nurses to give our free service but to have us pay to give our "free service" is enough. I also agree that the government and the other associated groups are keeping a blind eye to this issue. Where do they spend the money we pay for our volunteer? They tell us that the quality of nurses being produced are not good enough or not skilled enough. How can we practice our profession and improve our skills when we are stuck doing other jobs to make a living and waiting in line for a slot to open in the hospital?.....It is absurd.....

Anonymous said...

Good day everyone. this volunteer business has been going on for along time. i graduated mid 90's and it was the same story i had to volunteer first in a government hospital in my town to be able to get what we called local allowances which was about 4000 pesos. but it is not easy to get that said allowance, i have to go to the politicians ie..mayor, govrnor etc to get a lleter etc... it is a long process, so after ayear i finally got an allowance. it is not easy to get an experience and it is not an easy job as a volunteer. we have to work as full time paid staff nurse. a few time specially on public holidays like christmas only volunteer nurses- not paid are the ones working....irony of it...well this has been the life of a newly registered nurse in Philippines for years...

Anonymous said...

this is the reality that we nurses were facing nowadays .. this is the sad truth.. we let ourselves be exploited because we want to earn experiences to lend a good job abroad, to help our family and provide them comfort in life.. inspite the tiredsome duty, medicating our patients, doing bedside care assessing each patient, attending their needs.. helping them to recover we nurses are still motivated to practice safe and quality nursing care.. without us im pretty sure patients will not recover because behind a good doctor is a best nurse ryt? so, it is just fair that our rights be respected and our voices be heared..stop EXPLOITATION..stop volunteerism!!! let us work with a certificate as a staff nurse and not as a volunteer ... we know we cant use that abroad so its just a waste of PAPER! to my colleagues.. go Fight win.. continue to practice safe and quality nursing care.. we filipino nurses our known all over the world for our compassion.. for providing tlc to our patients KUDOS TO ALL OF US!!!!

Anonymous said...

The first thing I heard about volunteerism-for-a-fee is that when I was still in 2nd year college on 2006. It was the time when a relative of mine have his trainee at a respected hospital institution in Davao City. I also knew that almost all of the hospitals have the same training for nurses with a training fee of P1,500-P3,000 from 1 1/2 months to 6 months. After finishing the program, the nurse trainees are given a certificate of training, which would not guarantee a nursing job. I, myself was shocked at first because I tended to deny the reality (volunteer-for-a-fee), when in fact this is an ironic one. When I graduated as a nurse, I planned to have my 6-month training (P3,000) with the same hospital, the one where my relative had his training, because it is the "trend" or somewhat a "stepping stone" among all nurses before getting the nursing job. I was kind of more disappointed when the training supervisor told me that we should also pay for our physical examination. And I was like:
"Hello? We don't have a salary, not even a job, and yet you still want us to pay for that? That's pathetic!" But still, in order to get an experience, I still had my training. It was a fine experience. But now, I still don't have a permanent nursing job. If I continue to practice my profession by training in the hospital institutions without landing a job every after trainings, I really don't know what will going to happen to me.

Anonymous said...

Very well said for this article! clap clap! I was amazed. Whoever wrote this, kudos for you mr!

I would like to comment to the first person who commented on this page., The RN Heals was created not because of the rising issue of NURSES BEING EXPLOIT, but it was created to help "US" nurses to have the so called job for the meantime, to help us earn for a living. If I'm not mistaken it should be launched early weeks of November 2010, with the plan of 3000 RN's to be hired,. however it was postponed for several factors. The following month was great, policy was created and (RN Heals) was born. Timely the senate called a meeting to discuss things regarding "nurse volunteer" but way back to make the meeting successful we have had wait for a quarter.

We know what is happening around our corner, mind you, I am also a victim of this case. I am submitting myself at night to have my skills developed and enhanced it further, at 6:00am the following day, I had to rushed home and had my morning bathed as a start of my day before heading to my work throughout the day. Same routine right after in the afternoon.

The funny side of this story was, I am working on an agency, wherein this agency is THE GOD of HEALTH, and to make it more funnier, I am working on a division wherein the function is but not limited to: to discuss with different agencies, government or private sector about the status of health professionals (NURSES,DOCTORS and DENTIST) specially on HEALTH HUMAN RESOURCE.

The irony was, I am advocating for the welfare of my fellow nurses, to find solution for their problem (our problem as an agency for our nation) and to make policies to stop this insanity and yet, I AM BLIND ABOUT MY OUTPUT.. :'(

I am very happy that the issue was addressed by a woman senator, and because of her she paid attention to the said problem, and brought the issue to national level.

As an added info to everyone, we have a policy that states: hospitals will contribute a monetary benefits to volunteer nurses rather than the volunteer nurses pays for the services they rendered to the hospital. Sadly, an agency that caters the EDUCATION "doesn't want" or "BUSY" to sit and discuss this matter on our table since 2009/2010... and I think this agency should be knock by the head of state to move their asses.

To finalize my words, I am asking my fellow nurses to SPEAK for our RIGHT, to ASK for what is RIGHT and to ACT on what is RIGHT!

moving on, an ORG named AYNLA is looking for evidences such as receipt and certificate of volunteer. Please find AYNLA at facebook and let us help one another for good of all RN's. (I am not promoting the org, I am just disseminating the info to you fellows)

Lastly, The agency where I am right now, is indeed doing it's job to address the unemployed nurses way way back before the issue arise. To look after to all RN's to ease their burdens. And as long as I am here I would staunchly stand on my ground, share my personal experience and DEFEND my colleagues- my fellow nurses!

note: as I want to divulge my identity, I would love to however I need not to, due to work ethics and policy of my department. If any words that was written wrong in any way either or in any form doesn't constitute the stand of my agency. All words that was fire in this box was my personal views, and I will be accountable for it.

Manny Thanks and God bless to all!

Anonymous said...

too bad for all of us nurses.. we pay just to get certificates which can never help us to find a job. its like they are just getting money from us.
we are never paid enough to sustain our everyday need. look at the call center agents, medical representatives.. how much is their salary?? how about us nurses?? poor nurse.. we are not paid well! oh my! we are professionals. and yet we only get 5-6k a month?? geezzz.. how pathetic we are!

Anonymous said...

i worked as a volunteer nurse in one of the public hospital in our town. I was aware that i wont get paid for the job that i rendered but i am happy, because i love working in the hospitals, all the theories and some skills that i learned in my students days was so little compared to my vast experience in ER, MEDICAL WARD, and PEDIATRICS. i developed confidence, and I conquered my fears and doubts because i have senior nurses who taught me well.. We nurses are under appreciated, some says that we took up nursing just to work abroad.. but mind you people who are not in the nursing field.. being a nurse is not only a profession but a vocation.. we are helping patients to get better, we are on watch 24/7 in case there is an emergency, we sacrifice our health and safety when we go on night duty, we forget to have lunch, breakfast, snacks because we prioritized our patients needs.. we developed ulcers, pneumonia for overworking because of so many patients admitted in the hospitals.. but what do we get in return? nothing! a simple smile and thank you from a patient's would ease away my muscle pain and exhaustion, because i know that on my 8hours duty, i helped someone to get better and comfortable from his suffering.. that is the magic of being a NURSE..!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This is also the reason why most of the registered nurses end up working in call centers. Imagine an undergraduate working in a call center earns more that a registered nurse working in a hospital. We worked hard for our diploma and license.... and where do we end up? As for me I ended up working in a call center in Makati, I preferred too because I don't want to pay those hospitals... They consider us as one of their income...

Anonymous said...

Philippine Nurses Association is USELESS!

Do not renew your memberships. What for? Let the vultures enjoy your money?

Anonymous said...

Your blog is one of the best blogs about nurses that I have read so far...keep it up! The situation of nurses in the Philippines is indeed pathetic! I'm also one of those who doesn't advocate the volunteering thing...ok lang siguro kung walang fee!C", I just passed the NLE last July 2010 but until now, I am still unable to practise my profession. Yesterday, I went on job hunting & kahit papaano, I'm happy to know na there are still some hospitals which are continuous hiring. I just have to complete some requirements though (IVT training & stuff). Likewise, there is this hospital which accepts volunteer for free...I am not sure about the complete details, but if my fellow nurses are interested, you can contact or visit the East Avenue Medical Center' site.

For those who are currently unemployed RN, you may want to apply at this BPO: Medicall Philippines. They are hiring RNs.At least even if your working in a call center, you get to practise your profession kase mostly RNs & allied medical professions ang hinahanap nila.
I tried applying kaya lang tinamad na ko bumalik but I may consider applying in the future. Just search for it in goole to know more abt the job opening! Goodluck!

Clarriscent said...

"Very well said for this article! clap clap! I was amazed. Whoever wrote this, kudos for you mr!"
-Anonymous (January 20, 2011 5:53 PM)

Actually it's MISS, but thanks for the compliment! Yes, it's time to fight back. Let them know that this profession is not something that anyone can step on.

"Your blog is one of the best blogs about nurses that I have read so far...keep it up!"
-Anonymous (January 21, 2011 8:31 AM)

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am amazed by the response that this article got in less than 48 hours.


Thanks for everyone who read, commented and shared this article on Facebook. I do hope this injustice will end soon. Let's all pray that the hearings and news specials aren't just some spur of the moment thing which will not change things in the months to come. VOLUNTEER REGISTERED NURSES HAVE HAD ENOUGH AND IT'S TIME FOR THE WORLD TO KNOW IT.

Anonymous said...

magsilbi sna tong eye opener s mga magulang n mapangride s bandwagon ng kung anung usong course at s mga anak na ipglaban ang gs2 tlga nlang course para walang sisihan s huli.

Anonymous said...

To all fresh RN/ unemployed/unskillful,
Filipino culture is always keep on blaming...why our government, politicians or PNA/BON failed to review the root cause of all this "volunteerism issue"why they forgot to ask among themselves the kind of graduates they produces?2.) All approved nursing school in the country should help their own graduates to be employed? School should have social responsibilities for instance, if they produce 1,000 RN/year they r responsible to allocate hosp. employment?but what happen everybody is focusing on the money making, in short quality VS quantity. 3.) 5 years ago nobody from the government,politician ,BON or PNA control the overpopulated like sprouted mushrooms for opening nursing school?4.) Why our government did not mandate to all nursing school in the country to make their own 1,000 bed capacity hospital so that volunteerism issue be eliminated....To all RN's who always complaining for their misfortune course... stop... think.... out from it, in short if u dont want to be exploited do not apply in the hospital find other career that meet your expectation. Going abroad is hopeless... same routine same exploitation.

Clarriscent said...


I'm a bit confused about what you are trying to say. You seem to be against blaming but then wrote a long list on who are to actually blame.

The article is about a rising clamor for RESPECT for our profession and the end of endless exploitation of fresh passers. It is not about pointing fingers, it is about commanding appreciation for a profession so underestimated by the current times. It acknowledges those who stay despite the unfavorable environment and working conditions.


I didn't quite like how you implied that fresh Rns = Unemployed = "UNSKILLFUL". The fact that we have PRC licenses in our wallets mean the board have already granted us the privilege to use what we know because we have already satisfactorily met the state's standards. YES, there is still a lot to learn but calling fresh passers as incompetent and/ or inept is just plain wrong.


With all due respect, the Filipino language is allowed to be used in this forum. You may want to utilize such dialect for better expression of your ideas. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

How will you believe DOH Secretary Dr. Ona? Even National Kidney and Transplant Institute has training fees of 10,000 pesos for nurses, which they call Post-Graduate Course in Clinical Nursing Practice? Iniba lang ang pangalan pero volunteer nurse ka pa rin working 8 hours everyday for 5 days. Dyan din cya nagwwork? Bat di nya kaya simulan sa ospital na yan?

Clarriscent said...


This September, DOH has issued a memorandum to stop all trainings and volunteer programs in hospitals under their jurisdiction. While this may sound commendable, the only thing it did was to aggravate the immense nursing shortage in public hospitals and leave fresh graduates no option to practice their licenses.

Anonymous said...

I hope they also include private hospitals to follow the memorandum not to accept volunteer nurses anymore..

Anonymous said...

Please THINK TWICE OR EVEN MULTIPLE TIMES BEFORE APPLYING IN MEDICALL! kasi pag nagresign kau may 6 months ban na walang work, parang ganun din imbes na makatulong sila mas malaki pa problema nyo at di ganun ka-ok ang work, i guess ok na salary pero they will treat u s***

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