‘RN Heals is essentially a form of exploitation’

The Aquino administration boasts that the RN Heals program is one of its achievements. But NARS ng Bayan, a national association of community health nurses and people’s health advocates, has a contrary view. In fact, NARS sees RN Heals essentially as a form of exploitation.

RN Heals hires licensed qualified nurses for one year—as “contractuals.” The nurses are made to perform regular nursing tasks and augment the nursing manpower in many understaffed hospitals; yet, they are considered “trainees” with an allowance of not more than P8,000 a month. Meager as it is, the release of the allowance in many cases is even delayed for 2-3 months. Meantime, trainees spend for their daily needs (meals and transportation) and other incidental expenses like scrub suits, gloves or even medicines for job-related health problems like allergy, etc.

A more serious concern: RN Heals nurses have little or no protection at all from possible work-related liabilities or accountabilities that may arise from the performance of their duties.

The country has a huge pool of nurses. But severe unemployment remains the core problem in the nursing front. Ironically, nursing service is gravely needed in underserved and poor communities, and in public hospitals that are generally ill-equipped and seriously understaffed. Indeed, there is scarcity amidst plenty.

The government has neither observed nor implemented the standards that itself has set especially the nurse-patient ratio of 1:12 for bedside nursing care, and 1:20,000 for public health. In many government hospitals, a nurse usually handles more than 20 patients—often even more, like in the National Mental Health Center where a ward nurse is made to take charge of an average of 80-100 psychiatric patients. Moreover, public health nurses should have been receiving a starting monthly salary of P24,887, as per the Philippine Nursing Law of 2002, but the government has not allotted any budget for the enforcement of this law.

The “daang matuwid” of P-Noy has not  addressed the problem of nurse unemployment (despite the country’s critical need for nurses), which is worsening because its approach, like the RN Heals program, is temporary and superficial.

RN Heals neither “heals” nor dignifies nurses because it is a form of exploitation. The public health system can be made stronger by creating plantilla positions for more nurses to meet the growing needs of the population. Health is a major responsibility of the state, so the government should allot adequate budget for health services and human resource.

NARS sees nursing as a service profession and not merely a job; it is a moral duty and commitment to care for the well and the sick. We can truly live up to our commitment only with the government’s full support.

We agree with the “People’s Sona” which was delivered outside the halls of Congress. If we are truly “the boss” of P-Noy, the policies and budget should be allotted with the end in view of benefiting the people.

—MARISTELA P. ABENOJAR, RN, MAN, president, Nagkakaisang Narses

sa Adhikaing Reporma

sa Kalusugan ng Sambayanan


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=34924

Tags: exploitation , letters to the editor , NARS , Nursing , Nursing matters , opinion , RN Heals

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Boko Haram leader claims Nigeria capital bombing
  • Russia promises support to ending Ukraine crisis
  • Busted valve delays water interruption
  • Cardinal Tagle decries human ‘commercialization’
  • Religion builds bridges in ethnically split Cyprus
  • Sports

  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • Marketplace