Before job-hunting abroad
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines—Nursing board topnotcher Rosario Pasimio admits she’s looking forward to an overseas posting to help her family. But for now, she will serve as a nurse in the Philippine countryside.
“It’s like giving back to the country. I’m sure many others like me want to go abroad, but for now, with the recession, serving my countrymen in the rural areas should not be a problem,” said Rosario, fifth placer in the 2008 Nursing Board Exams.
New nurses like Rosario are being challenged by the Department of Labor and Employment to heed the call of duty in the countryside to help fill the need for health workers in rural areas, where people hardly receive medical services.
Under the Nurses Assigned in Rural Service, or the NARS program, homegrown nurses will be deployed in selected towns in the province of Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental beginning April 1, according to the DOLE regional office here.
DOLE said unemployed nurses willing to serve in their hometowns, who are physically and mentally fit and with no nursing-related practice, can participate in the program. But they must have valid licenses and should not be over 35 years old.
Each nurse hired under the program will get a monthly stipend of P8,000.In Lanao del Norte, which is considered one of the country’s poorest provinces, all 22 municipalities will avail themselves of the NARS program.
“The NARS program is meant to address unemployment,” said Remegio Cabañog of the DOLE-Lanao.
Cabañog said the program will also address the proliferation of “volunteer nurses” working in hospitals without pay.
It has been a known practice in many hospitals, he said, that volunteer workers even pay just to be accommodated and obtain a certificate of work experience, which they can later use in seeking jobs abroad.
Cabañog said under the NARS program, new nurses will undergo training and development on competency enhancement. The training was designed by the Department of Health in collaboration with the Professional Regulatory Commission.
This training, he said, will cover both the clinical and public health functions.For Rosario, taking advantage of the NARS program is not so much for financial reasons as getting partical, on-the-job training.
“I think it will also be a good training…. Without the help of technology, we would be able to really implement our creativity as a nurse and what we’ve learned in school when we’re in the rural areas,” she said.–Ma. Cecilia Rodriguez, Inquirer Mindanao