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Surplus nurses

First Posted 10:40:00 09/04/2010

From one of the most in-demand courses in the country, nursing lost some steam as a career following two disasters two years ago?namely, the reports of the alleged cheating that occurred in the licensure examinations and the global recession which reduced the demand for nurses worldwide.

The slowdown in jobs for nurses was confirmed by United Kingdom officials, who visited the country and disclosed in a Manila forum that there were nursing companies that have exploited Filipino nurses whom they described to be among the best in the world.

However, that doesn?t stop fresh graduates from pinning their hopes on work abroad.

Five of the top 10 nurses that headlined the year's nursing examinations came from Cebu Normal University. Being a top notcher is a fine performance for them and vitrually ensures their immediate employment. For the rest, employment has become more difficult.

Dr. Potenciano Larrazabal, owner of Cebu Doctor's University and several hospitals in Cebu, admitted that the province and the rest of the country produces too many nurses. The resulting glut has made it difficult for graduates to find jobs.

Outside of the US, global demand isn't as strong as it used to be.

Staying in the Philippines would mean long hours of work for modest pay that the typical graduate finds noncomensurate to the cost of schooling.

Some hospitals even adopt a revolving door policy, where they hire batches of nurses every one or two years. They can?t hold on to them. With the ?low? pay which nurses compare to near-slave wages, the men and women in white leave after getting just enough experience to land overseas jobs.

The turnover makes it difficult for Philippine hospitals to keep a steady, reliable nursing staff.

After outlining a comprehensive program to address a projected shortage of doctors and nurses in the country, the government now finds itself having to find immediate jobs for them.

But the program can still prove effective. Among the features is a joint agreement between foreign hospitals and the national government to provide an interim period for nurses to work in community hospitals before being hired for overseas work.

The global recession has forced the hand of private and public hospitals to hire more nurses to beef up their staff.

In this respect, private hospitals shuld consider raising salaries of their nurses to make the compensation more competitive and encourage them to serve patients in the Philippines.

The government should also strengthen community programs for nurses and doctors by exposing them to the countryside, where the need for medical attention for ailing indigents and rural folk is great.

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