“Thank you” is just not enough
In this year’s SONA our President urged the public to say “Thank you” to our nurses who choose to serve in the country despite better opportunities abroad. He could have talked about many other things and yet the president chose to give recognition to our nurses. For this, we are truly humbled and thankful.
However, we hope that this statement will not end up as mere lip service from the current administration. What are “thank yous” for if nurses in this country continue to be exploited and demoralized? Over 400,000 of our country’s Registered Nurses are EXPLOITED by many healthcare institutions through FALSE Volunteerism Practices and Non-Accredited Training Programs. A lot of them are made to work with the full responsibilities of an employed staff nurse, but are not given any salary, benefits, and employer protection. Most are even asked to pay fees even as they already render free regular nursing services.
With thousands of our nurses vying for work and too few jobs in the country, cunning employers and recruiters create a vicious cycle of exploitation by deceiving our nurses through empty promises of employment and feeding them misinformation that the “Volunteer” or “Training” Certificates will help them get jobs in other countries. In reality, nothing can be further from the truth as these training certificates are NOT recognized abroad as work experience.
Moreover, this system prevents new nurses from being hired, because all available nurse positions are filled up by these unpaid “volunteers” or “trainees”. These healthcare institutions earn and save from these nurses since they have no need to hire anymore—they can just get nursing services for FREE.
Thus, while we appreciate the kind words of the President, I’m afraid “Thank you” is just not enough. “Thank you” may sound pleasing to our ears, but it will never put food on the table—only decent work will. “Thank you” may temporarily lighten a stressful day and bring a smile to our faces, but it will never bring back respect and dignity to our nursing profession—only decent work will.
If the President is sincere enough in thanking our nurses, then this verbal acknowledgement must be translated to tangible actions.
We in Ang NARS hope that our President shall take concrete steps in ending false volunteerism practices and non-accredited training programs. We also call on the administration to create more regular jobs for nurses.
Contrary to popular opinion, our nurses would rather stay and work in the country to serve their fellow Filipinos only if their work is valued and respected. So give them what is due—decent work for all nurses now!
– Ang NARS-PSLINK