Aspiring nurses warned: 287,000 can’t find work

Published by rudy Date posted on May 21, 2011
Manila, Philippines – The Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) yesterday said hundreds of thousands of nurses remain jobless because of a saturated market and expressed hope that those who enroll in nursing this school year would do so for love of the profession.
“Since three years ago, there are some 287,000 nurses who are either unemployed or underemployed. There are so many nurses now who are working outside the health sector,” PNA president Dr. Teresita Barcelo said.
She said nursing students should not be in it for the money but to serve patients.
“We are not discouraging them from taking up nursing. We need nurses. But we just hope that their intention in going into nursing is not to go abroad but to take care of patients,” she said.
The past decade saw the mushrooming of nursing schools – many of them substandard – in the Philippines, owing to the demand for nurses in other countries. Even doctors joined the bandwagon and also took up nursing.
Barcelo noted that the industry eventually became saturated.
Many countries, on the other hand, had imposed stricter rules on hiring foreign nurses, leaving many Filipino nurses jobless.
“Before this (boom), most of those who take up nursing do so because they really want to serve patients. We hope to see that commitment and competence once again,” she said.
But Barcelo acknowledged that there is really a need to improve the working conditions and monetary compensation for nurses in local hospitals.
Despite the oversupply of nurses, the ideal ratio of one nurse per 12 hospital patients and one nurse per 5,000 in the community has not been reached.
She said that the government needs to allocate funds so that it could hire more nurses and give them better benefits. -Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star)

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