As thousands of jobless new nurses swell, the regional chapter of the Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) urged the government to adopt a systematic plan for nursing graduates and other health professionals.
BY ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
Volume VIII, Number 31, September 7-13, 2008
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. North of Manila)– As thousands of jobless new nurses swell, the regional chapter of the Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) urged the government to adopt a systematic plan for nursing graduates and other health professionals.
Ruth Thelma Tingda, president of the PNA-Cordillera and Region I, explained that the call to produce professional health workers based on the country’s needs is a component of their functional human resource development program.
She said that the plan aims to address the growing number of professional nurses who have no jobs related to their profession.
Media reports showed that since 2007, there are 400,000 new nurses who are either jobless or underemployed.
Tingda also added that there should be strict regulations for the opening and/or operations of nursing schools.
Tingda cited data from the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) Baguio showing that there are 3,290 nursing graduates who passed PRC exams in this city this year.
Data from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) also showed that out of the 10,218 graduates in the school year 2006-2007, some 4,781 or 46.78 percent were from medical courses, mostly nursing.
Health-related courses, specifically nursing, are the most-enrolled courses in the city. Of the city’s total 68,511 student population, 27,015 or 39.43 percent are enrolled in health-related courses.
International demand no more?
In 2004, the non-government organization’ Community Health Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera (Chestcore) cited reports that an estimated 85 percent of employed Filipino nurses, approximately more than 150,000, are abroad. Chestcore said that low salaries led to their flight to other countries where salaries and benefits are higher.
Even doctors are taking up nursing to work abroad, Chestcore added. A report from the Department of Health (DOH) revealed that 2,000 doctors took up nursing in 2004 and the number grew to 6,000 in 2005.
The group noted that 80 percent of public doctors have taken up nursing.
The PNA said that there was an overproduction of Filipino nurses since 2007. Some nurses find it difficult to work abroad as they have to pass required examinations in the host countries, and the applications entail bigger amounts of money.
The PNA said that unless the overproduction of nurses and the exodus of health professionals are addressed, these would aggravate the country’s deteriorating health care system. Northern Dispatch/(Bulatlat.com)