Saturday, September 24, 2011

In an intelligent and thought-provoking decision, Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona issued a memorandum terminating all "Nurse Volunteer Programs", "Volunteer Training Program for Nurses" and all similar and related programs, in all DOH-retained hospitals.

64666926 DOH Termination of Nurse Volunteer Programs

While the memorandum brings appealing images to mind (the end of nurse exploitation, employment for licensed registered nurses, respect for the nursing profession etc.), the only effects of the ordinance that is evident right now is public hospitals being grotesquely understaffed, patients suffering from inadequate care from overworked and burnt out staff nurses and entry level nursing graduates experiencing What-The-Hell-Do-I-Do-Now? syndrome.

Two-Way Street

It's not all bullying, over fatigue and slavery that envelops a nurse volunteers life. Not every registered nurse gathers used bottles in a kariton to sell at junk shops just to have money for hospital training fees. These scenarios get featured in news programs and documentary reports because it is dramatic and controversial. Truth of the matter is, nurses volunteer because they choose to practice their profession rather than apply in call centers, have fake accents and answer calls from strangers. They do it to gain leverage in this highly competitive job market.  Because let's face it, no hospital in their right mind will hire a newly licensed nurse with zero post graduate experience.

Please do not underestimate us. We are not slaves, we know what we are doing and we are aware of the situation in these hospitals. We are not shackled to the nursing station with big metal chains, forced to administer medications under duress and monitor vital signs at gunpoint. We were not dragged into an institution to serve against our will but we do it because we want to and, so far, we see the favorable outcome of honing our crafts and sharpening our skills.

Add to that the priceless feeling of having a schedule to follow, a purpose to attend to, every day. One of the hardest things in life is to wake up at numerous mornings in a row and not be able to know what to do that day or the day after that. Plus, there is the relationship and unique bond that is formed with co-trainees, staff nurses and even patients that no bum, useless, non-"slavery" day could replace.

One thing I could completely agree with, though, is that we should not be paying thousands of pesos for these so-called trainings when we have already offered our brains, bodies and licenses for free. That long-standing custom, Secretary Ona, should be the one eternally abolished but NOT, yes you read it right, every training/volunteer program in the country.

A Dead End

So, with all due respect, DOH Secretary Ona, what do you propose we, unemployed registered nurses, do now? 

With Nurse Volunteerism / Nurse Trainings now prohibited in DOH mandated hospitals and NO ADDITIONAL BUDGET given for hiring needed nursing manpower, every one suffers. Staff nurses are reeling from the sudden influx of additional work load, patients are neglected from lack of care from the preposterous nurse-patient ratio and fresh graduates now have no opportunity to practice what they have learned in college, therefore lessening their chances of getting hired by hospitals due to inadequate experience.

Forgive me for this, but I think the memorandum is a hasty band-aid approach to a long and complicated problem of nurse shortages and exploitation in the country. It was a decision without due thought of the various elements that made the despicable nursing trade of our country what it is today. The problem is a hideous many-limbed menace and cutting of one arm will only make it bleed and stagger.

So, again, if I may ask, seriously, WHAT NOW?


Anonymous said...

this is so true i mean what is the purpose of being give the title RN when you have no competent skills to be hired in the hospitals?

Anonymous said...

nurses overflowed during the past years, and its no doubt that volunteering in hospitals benefited all, staff nurses with less workload, patients with nurses attending to their needs and registered nurses who would like to sharpen their knowledge and gain more skills and i hope so not only for CERTIFICATES SAKe.... but then the fees does not justify the VOLUNTEERISM of NURSES, the fee should be the one to be abolished not the TRAINING OR VOLUNTEERISM EXPERIENCE ITSELF

Semidoppel said...

So that's the memorandum is all about. Hope they will do more good for our nurses

Anonymous said...

i agree with you. theres a reason why its VOLUNTEER. Because we are not forced to do it nor force to pay the fees. we volunteered. What the DOH should focused is to hire new staffs depending on the qualification and expertis of the nurses. The backer system in hiring nurses is so rampant nowadays, that even fresh grads with unrealesed license are already on orientation stage because they are so called anak or pamangkin ng mga boss. hello EAMC.

Conquer said...

This issue makes all new Registered Nurses globally incompetent, imbecile and a waste...How could DOH will hire Nurses if it doesn't have enough experience as a staff nurse? Nonetheless, all of these is just a temporary issue I hope...

Anonymous said...

Hospitals today accepts nurses without post graduate experience. what they look at is your grades.

Clarriscent said...

I highly doubt that hospitals would prefer a fresh graduate with no post grad experience from hundreds of thousands of other applicants who have trained/volunteered in other hospitals. The amount of knowledge and skills that you gain from these exposures are immeasurable and unbelievably valuable.

However, what DOH should work on is to make sure that no hospital should ever solicit money from its volunteers by dubbing them as "trainees". And yes, the backer system is so rampant nowadays it's not even shocking anymore.

Anonymous said...

i am now at my third month of being a volunteer nurse and i can say that it helped me develop my skills and be more confident in what i am doing..

abolish the fee and not the training program itself,i strongly agree with that..make a particular memo that will stop this training fee thing..

the memo released by the doh is a crap and i believe it needs to be revised..

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