Archive for the ‘nurses’ Category

A large Florence Nightingale lamp lights up for a nursing board topnotcher

February 20, 2009

“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, It requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.” — Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Overwhelming happiness must be what nursing board exam first placer Jovie Ann Decoyna feels. The farmer’s daughter whose mother works as an OFW in Taiwan basks in the glow of honor after the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) released the result of the November licensure test yesterday.

Proud and admiring classmates from Baguio Central University came to gift the young professional with an extra-large Florence Nightingale lamp, a symbol of care and abiding commitment that nurses worldwide are known for. (Photo Credit: Andy Zapata/ Philstar)=0=


The NARS program & the 39,455 who passed the nurses board exam

February 20, 2009

The Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) announces that 39, 455 successfully hurdled the nursing board examination given last November 2008.

The successful examinees represent 44.5 percent of the total 88,649 who took the test. According to the PRC, Jovie Ann Alawas Decoyna of the Baguio Central University topped the examination with a grade of 89 percent.

With a high rate of joblessness among nurses due to a slump in job recruitment abroad, the addition of licensed nurses in the workforce creates more pressure to create jobs for the new professionals.

The government introduced a “stop-gap measure” versus unemployment by creating the Nurses Assigned in Rural Service (NARS) program which aims to send at least 5 nurses to each of the 1,000 poorest towns in the country. Applicants in the program will be paid a monthly salary of P8,000. Labor Secretary Marianito Roque invites interested nurses to file their applications at the nearest DOLE regional office or submit it online at where application forms may also be downloaded.—GMATVNews (02/20/09, Tan, KJ)

With an estimated joblessness of more than 400,000, it is unlikely that the 5,000 NARS positions will have a dent in easing up the lack of local employment opportunities needed by by the licensed nurses.(Photo Credit: Lucindlunacy) =0=


Job Outlook 2009: Nurses in USA still in demand, but not in the Philippines

February 4, 2009

Unemployment is rampant as the economic meltdown continues in America. The joblessness in the world’s largest economy is in all time high and still rising. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) January 20, 2009 issue reports the discouraging job loss of 2.6 million last year. Yet, in spite of the alarming unemployment sweeping America today, healthcare sticks out as among the few bright spots in work opportunities. The US healthcare sector posted gains of 419,000 jobs, mostly for nurses in 2008.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the trend is expected to continue till 2016 as Americans grow older and need more medical services. Last year, registered nurses posted 168,000 job placements to cope with the nationwide shortage. The availability of health care jobs including those in home care and nursing homes proves that employment in this sector is relatively recession-proof. Expansion of work opportunities is expected in less intensive training courses like pharmacy and medical assistantships.

This could have been welcoming news for Filipino nurses who seek work opportunities abroad. But with current US visa restrictions and slowing of recruitment of foreign applicants, the need for local healthcare workers in USA doesn’t translate into more foreign nurses getting jobs at this time. There is an emerging nativist US sentiments sparked by the economic downturn which further dampens the interest in hiring nurses from abroad.

There are about 88,750 nurses who took the Philippine board exam in November last year. The 50% (more or less) who will pass and get licensed will add to the nurse unemployment problem which is currently estimated to number about 400,000. The high joblessness rate in the country opens more opportunities for exploitation among these professionals and the government seems inutile in solving it. (Photo Credit: AllwaysNY; Uberdoog)=0=

RELATED BLOGS: “As nursing jobs become scarce, 88,750 brace for the next board examination” Posted by mesiamd at 11/12/2008; “Job prospects for nurses decline” Posted by mesiamd at 6/02/2008

As nursing jobs become scarce, 88,750 brace for the next board examination

November 11, 2008

The nursing profession is often equated with tender loving care (TLC,) a trademark of compassionate service. In the Philippines those who are sick have reasons to be happy for they have more than the nurses they need. There is a surplus of nurses competing to take care of patients.

Nurses are desperate to grab employment in the nation’s crowded healthcare system. Four hundred thousand (400,000) are reported to be jobless; a wave of newly licensed professionals will join them after the next board exams. With the highest number of examinees in history, a total of 88,750 nurses will sit for the Philippine Regulations Commission (PRC)-administered licensure test on November 29 and 30, 2008.

Carmencita Abaquin and Marco Sto. Tomas of the Board of Nursing are happy about the advances in testing computerization. Having recovered from the cheating scandal in the June 2006 test, the exam administrators insist that the well-guarded computers will do the job. They promise that the conduct of the forthcoming licensure will be “leakage free.” Those who configure the computers aren’t expected to rig the reault. They assume the machines and testing materials are tamper-proof.

Yet, there’s a big problem that looms behind the effort to prevent cheating. Nurses are badly in need of work. Job recruitment has been slow. They can’t volunteer in hospitals because there is almost no vacancy even if many hands are willing to work for free. Having spent time, talent and treasure to become professionals, the nurses don’t have jobs mainly because of government indifference and neglect.

Four hundred thousand (400,000) unemployed young nurses translate into a disgusting waste of labor capital. The staggering number is a monumental setback to those who offer their career for the country’s most popular profession. In financial terms, this is a blow to the campaign to send workers abroad for more dollars intended to boost the local economy. The government seems disengaged, proudly slow to react to the problem.

As in the past, the blame and anger spread in all fronts, but nothing effective to correct the labor crisis has been done. The government’s labor allocation policy has failed. Unable to protect the nursing profession, Philippine lawmakers, labor planners, school administrators, and licensure officials haven’t acted to the satisfaction of the public.

Counted among the country’s reliable cash cows, the poor silent nurses are mercilessly brushed aside now that there’s little need for them inside and outside the country. The docile professionals, unable to vent their frustration, pathetically wait for the day when they’ll be able to find work. Sadly, the day isn’t coming anytime soon—for there’s hardly anyone to help them. Together with the unemployed, a fraction of the 88,750 board examinees is about to rush for jobs that aren’t there. (Photo Credits: glenmcbethlaw; uberdoog; allwaysNY) =0=

After the nurse, enters the chef

October 6, 2008

With the oversupply of nurses and ever increasing demand for Filipinos to leave the country, the new career craze is to be a chef. From just one culinary school in 2000, the country suddenly has 400 cook schools. If no regulations of these schools are implemented there will thousands who will be exploited, just like the mushrooming of 400,000 licensed nurses who have no place to work.

Chefs are the new rock stars now. Everyone wants to be a chef. When I started, there were hardly any culinary schools here … And there was no chef, it was just the cook. When I got back, there are culinary schools everywhere,” said Ian Padilla a Filipino chef at Parisian restaurant Tailevent. Reuters/ABS CBN News (09/30/08, Francisco,R.)

About 8,400 kitchen workers left for jobs abroad and 5,500 of them are chefs and cooks. The chef’s compensation abroad can be as high as $4,000/month compared to the usual salary of average Filipino workers which is about $220-320/month. With unemployment rate above 7%, the temptation to be an OFW is strong.

However, potential for victimization of Filipinos is obvious here. The government is prodded to work hard to create jobs, reprogam its labor plans to suit the needs of the nation. Otherwise more and more people will be forced to follow an estimated 50,000 and 230,000 workers who left in 2007 to be employed as maids and seamen respectively. This is in addition to the countless number who work in menial jobs such as welders, waiters, carpenters, drivers, plumbers, upholsterers, and other construction workers. Photo Credit: wayneandwax) =0=

For safety, FDA monitors 20 drugs in the market

September 8, 2008

A 2007 federal law requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to disclose reports from doctors, patients, hospitals, nurses and pharmaceutical companies problems surrounding a particular drug—from simple drug labelling concerns to serious side effects. The list doesn’t automatically imply that the drugs are unsafe and patients don’t necessarily have to stop their medications.

Product Name:
Active Ingredient (Trade)
or Product Class—————————-Potential Serious Risk/New Safety Info.

Arginine Hydrochloride Injection (R-Gene 10)—-Pediatric overdose due to labeling
Desflurane (Suprane)—————————-Cardiac arrest (heart stops working)
Duloxetine (Cymbalta)—————————Urinary retention
Etravirine (Intelence)—————————–Hemarthrosis (blood in a joint)
Fluorouracil Cream (Carac)
and Ketoconazole Cream (Kuric)—————Adverse events due to name confusion
Heparin ————————————-anaphylactic-type allergic reactions

Icodextrin (Extraneal)—————————Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Insulin U-500 (Humulin R)———————-Dosing confusion
Ivermectin (Stromectol) and Warfarin———Drug interaction
Lapatinib (Tykerb)——————————-Hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity)
Lenalidomide (Revlimid)————————–Stevens-Johnson syndrome
Natalizumab (Tysabri)—————————-Skin melanomas (deadly skin cancer)

Nitroglycerin (Nitrostat)————————–Overdose due to labeling confusion
Octreotide Acetate Depot (Sandostatin LAR)—-Ileus (bowels not moving)
Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Controlled-Release (OxyContin)——————-Drug misuse, abuse, and overdose
Perflutren Lipid Microsphere (Definity)———-Cardiopulmonary reactions
Phenytoin Injection (Dilantin)———————-Purple glove syndrome
Quetiapine (Seroquel)——————————Overdose due to labeling confusion
Tebivudine (Tyzeka)———————————Peripheral neuropathy
Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) Blockers———-Pediatric cancers

For the first time, a quarterly report covering January 1 to March 31 2008 is issued scrutinizing certain medicines for their safety. Once the result of the drug evaluation is out, whether the drug has adverse effects or is confirmed safe, it will be reported in the Adverse Event Reporting System (ARES)to alert the public. Part of a drug safety initiative, the report evaluates the seriousness of a side-effect or if there is something unknown for a particular medicine which can pose a health problem. Source: WebHealthNews (09/05/08, DeNoon, DJ/Chang,L)=0=


Supreme Court Courage Needed

Intelligence can be inherited, education can be bought, expertise can be trained but courage is one thing that cannot be taught. And it is courage that is utterly lacking in our Supreme Court for a long time now. It a virtue Senators Diokno and Joker Arroyo had in abundance.”—MyTy, Philippines


Belying nurse surplus with unfilled 20,000 foreign jobs—a slanted view of RP’s unemployment problem

September 2, 2008

After Ruth Padilla, a commissioner of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) announced there are 400,000 currently unemployed nurses in the Philippines, Jackson Gan, the vice-president of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters and his organization belie the excess of nurses because there are unfilled “20,000 job orders for nurses in the Middle East, Singapore, and Europe.” Inquirer (09/01/08, Uy, V.)

By numbers alone, 20,000 jobs Gan speaks of don’t come close to 400,000 jobless licensed nurses that Padilla is referring to. Even if these foreign jobs are filled, there remain 380,000 licensed nurses who aren’t employed. Many more nurses are scheduled to finish their courses and take the boards, adding more numbers in the jobless pool. So how can Gan prove his point?

On Gan’s admission many nurses are shifting to other jobs in computers, call centers, medical transcriptions, or other employment unrelated to their education out of desperation. Is this not a sign of an oversupply? The existence of foreign job offers abroad doesn’t negate the reality of joblessness at home, the place where Filipinos must be in the first place.

Speaking for the manpower establishment (also maybe for the POEA as well,) whose main role is to fill in workers, Gan sounds condescending in saying that our nurses aren’t qualified for the job. This isn’t entirely true— knowing that they went through standard accredited study and were licensed as professionals by the Philippine Regulations Commission (PRC.)

Almost everyone knows there is slowing in hiring coincident to the way-ward increase in the number of nurses in the supply pool. Contrary to Gan’s assertion, Filipino nurses want to go abroad even in countries other than the United States, but there are reasons other than the prejorative label of “not being qualified” that are keeping them at home

The lack of two-year experience in a 250-bed hospital is the reason Gan cites for the unfilled foreign jobs. But this is simplistic and misleading for the turn-over of nurses in big hospitals is brisk. Because of the US back-log (not enough visas are available,) many nurses who already passed the NCLEX are forced to wait for at least 2 years, just the right time for them to comply with the experience requirement.

It is more likely therefore, the 20,000 foreign positions aren’t filled (if truly they exist) is because the jobs offered aren’t attractive enough— the workplace can be “unsafe,” the terms of the contract may be unacceptable, there can be family issues that remain unresolved on immigration, or the offer of going abroad poses difficult cultural and language barriers that is hard to meet. Above all, many applicants may not have the cash to finance their foreign applications forcing them to work and save first before pursuing their plans abroad.

Reported in the news before, Spain wants Filipino nurses, but job-seekers need to learn Spanish—a task that has nothing to do with the nurse’s ability to care for patients in the hospital. Why will they learn Spanish when they are even struggling with the English language which takes them too long to master? Similarly, Belgium also needs nurses, but they have to speak in Belgian. Saudi Arabia may have jobs, but horror stories abound from nurses and overseas foreign workers (OFW’s) who worked in countries where the treatment of women and foreigners are different. There are scary reports of maids in Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East who commit suicide because of maltreatment, rape, isolation, and intolerable working conditions.

Gan and people with his mindset need to simply look around to say what they are saying is lopsided, a cheap letdown against the nurses, themselves helpless victims of inept education and labor planning. He speaks from the vantage point of an astute labor-peddler whose interest is mainly to deploy workers in jobs without much regard of the welfare of Filipinos braving the uncertainties and hardships in the world outside. =0=

Nurse glut made worse by apathy & self-interest

September 1, 2008

Almost everyone knows it is coming. The nation produces about 100,000 licensed nurses per year. The joblessness of 400,000 board-certified nurses is expected as students enrolled in the course has surged to more than 450,000 since 2006 in the Philippines which can only employ 60,000.

But few people want to talk about the nurse problem—either they are apathetic or they just wanted to move ahead on their own. There has been inadequate public national debate on the issue, in the government and even among interest groups. Perhaps, they are intimidated.

The apparent lopsided popularity of nursing didn’t dissuade students against choosing the course, among them, second-courser doctors who wanted a shot at higher paying jobs abroad, even if they had to downgrade their positions in the healthcare ladder. Acceptable to many, they had their career plans on hold, wasting away time before they could be productive. They believe the situation was only temporary; once they escape their jobs for high paying jobs abroad, it would be OK.

But we’re seeing the full-blown effects of failure in planning and labor-allocation. The exceedingly high number of unemployed nurses translates into millions of lost productivity. Since overseas labor is a major leg that shores up the Philippine economy, the impact of joblessness is staggering.

The Education Department was slow in averting the mass unemployment when it recognized the folly of loosely permitting new schools to open until its ban 2004. Legislators sat on the side (even allowing their relatives to join the nursing tide) without coming up with solution(s) to the profession’s freak overrepresentation in the workplace.

In a matter of few years, positions filled up, leaving thousands without jobs. Like beached whales in the sand, nurses with plans to work as overseas foreign workers (OFWs) quietly looked at their situation with worry and trepidation, hoping the bottle neck of employment would ease up. For survival, others had taken local jobs in alternative professions. On their own, they wonder what the government could do to alleviate their plight.=0=

RP’s 40% drop in med school enrollment & the foreign doctors

August 27, 2008

It seems a good thing that doctors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN,) a group of sovereign states in partnership with the Philippines, are coming to the country for study. This development is timely when at least 5,000 doctors have left the country since 2004 and about 6,000 have shifted to study nursing for jobs abroad. In the last three years, a staggering 40% drop in medical enrollment is noted. Asian Journal Online (08/26/08)

An uncertain number of foreign doctors who come from Iran, India, Malaysia and Indonesia and other neighboring countries have sought training in Philippine hospitals, many in the provinces, even if no Department of Health (DOH) guidelines are existent to regulate them.

According to Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Reynaldo Santos, M.D., the arrival of these foreign medical trainees attests to the high quality of education in the country. But this is doubted in the wake of a sharp decline of the number of hospitals, a marked rise in patient load for doctors and nurses, a low passing rate of Filipinos in the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE,) an over-crowding of patients and trainees, lack of budget, equipment upgrade, and medical facilities in many hospitals. See related article on medical diploma mills below.

If the Department of Health (DOH) and the Education Department (CHED) don’t act fast, it will not be long before foreigners will be able to judge for themselves the quality of education and healthcare in the Philippines compared to that of their countries of origin. It is deleterious for the country to rely on foreigners to solve the shortage of physicians or seek them to shore up dwindling medical enrollment. Without infringing on the physicians’ rights, measures to reverse the brain-drain of local doctors must be high in the priority. (Photo Credit: Doctian) =0=


A disturbing article entitled Medical School for Sale? was written by Emil Jurado of Manila Standard on July 26, 2007. It’s unclear whether the Department of Health (DOH) and school authorities (CHED) took satisfactory remedial action to prevent further erosion of credibility with the alleged proliferation of diploma mills in the country.

In concordance with the requirement of ASEAN’s Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA)mandating to honor medical licenses and credentials among member nations, this highlights the need to write the long-overdue guidelines needed for the regulation, hiring, and training of local and foreign doctors in the Philippines. Here’s a part of Jurado’s riveting piece that needed verification plus action from the government:

The Times of India, a very prestigious newspaper, published an article, “Now showing: Manilabhai MBBS*.” The article is very derogatory about our kind of medical education. The latest MBBS scam to appear on the medical scene in India is based in the Philippines. “And this one’s even less complicated than the others.”

The article says: “There is no entrance test for admission, now, will you need to attempt the screening test in return?” says Upveen Harpal, accounting executive, HCMI, which is sending students abroad.

The article adds, “So, anybody with 40 percent in Class XII examination and who could pay Rs 16 lakhas (about P1.6 million) upfront could head for the Philippines for an MBBS and come home to practice. No questions asked, and Harpal claimed that this was a three-party tieup among HCMI, a medical school in Manila and a medical school in Tamil Nadu, India.”

To add insult to injury, Yogesh Sharma of Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad wrote an article entitled, “The Philippines dangles carrots to Gujarat students: Be doctor for Rs 20 lakh.” The article implies that there are no more requirements to enter an MBBS program in the Philippines since the title gives the impression that all one needs is Rs 20 lakh or P2,000,000 to become a doctor, courtesy of fly-by-night or spurious Philippine medical schools, and diploma mills for sale. “ *N.B. M.D. in the Philippines is equivalent to MBBS in India. Manila Standard (07/25/08, Jurado, Emil; Photo Credit: PaulCooperBland)

Hungry Filipinos, Release of 16 Innocent Prisoners And Cholera Death Toll In Mindanao

August 8, 2008

14.5 million
—-Is the estimated number of Filipinos (representing 2.9 million households) who experienced involuntary hunger between April and June 2008 according to a SWS survey. The occurrence of severe hunger rose to 4.2% which corresponds to about 3.3 million people in 760,000 families.

34—-Of the 67 prisoners attended to by the Justice on Wheels in Caloocan City, Philippines, 34 were released. Nineteen of them finished serving jail time while 16 were found innocent of their crime. The incredibly crowded Caloocan City jail keeps 1,500 prisoners in a facility that’s intended for only 500.

21—Death toll of the cholera outbreak in Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao between July 27 to Aug 6, 2008. Residents became ill in what experts believe to be linked with drinking contaminated water. As of Aug 6, 2008, 147 individuals are suspected to harbor the disease.

10,000—From January to June 2008, the total number of Filipino nurses who took the licensure examination in the United States. The number is 107 shy of the total number of nurses who took the same test in the same period last year. Almost 500,000 students are currently enrolled in nursing in the Philippines today.

—-The number of Filipino girls rescued from illegal recruitment by human trafficking syndicates recently. Coming from poor towns in the provinces, the girls are locked up by their recruiters while they wait for assignments abroad as OFWs, mostly in the Middle East as domestic workers. Some of these girls end up being abused by employers and they seek help from the Philippine embassy.

12.2%—-Inflation rate of the Philippines in July 2008. Exceeding the previous inflation rate of 11.4% in June, this is the highest in 16 years. Inflation rate averaged 8.3 percent in the first six months of the year, surpassing the government’s original forecast of 3 to 5 percent for 2008

P2.50-P3.50—-Price of pan de sal this week after a 50 centavo rise. Correspondingly, the price of a loaf bread went up to by P3 and now runs at P50-55/ loaf.

66%—The percentage of Filipinos who are scrimping on food, said Pulse Asia in a survey conducted last June and July 2008 in response to high prices of commodities. The same survey disclosed households consume and spend less on electricity, cell phones, transportation, water, and medicine.

90%—-The percentage of disabled persons who are poor, according to Geraldine Ruiz, president of the Organization of Rehabilitation Agencies. As per World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, 10 to 15% of the Filipino population has some kind of disability.

—The number of families (with a total of 6,547 individuals) that are displaced due to a new wave instability and chaos perpetrated by the secessionist group MILF in Midsayap and Aleosan towns alone. Burning of houses, destruction of plantations, looting of properties and cattle rustling, among others are the reasons why civilians are forced to leave the troubled spots in Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines. =0=