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Caring for our nurses

05:02 AM May 15, 2018

Even as the world celebrated Nurses Week last May 6-12, Filipino nurses continue to ask for/demand recognition, respect, and just compensation.

Despite President Duterte’s promise of change and comfortable lives for Filipinos, the dismal condition for nurses in the Philippines persists.

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Many nurses receive salaries below minimum wage or fall victim to false volunteerism schemes, where nurses pay hospitals for “trainings” or are paid with mere food allowance.

Protection for nurses are also lacking in terms of bullying and workplace violence. Thus, many nurses experience physical and verbal abuse.

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Above all these, instead of addressing the plight of nurses, the government institutes schemes that put a heavier burden to us nurses like the much dreaded Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Act, which is a money-making scheme designed to turn nurses and other professionals into cash cows.

Because of these problems, nurses are forced to go abroad or seek other jobs, which in turn affects the healthcare delivery system in the country.

Around 20,000 nurses leave the country every year, whereas 7 of 10 sick Filipinos die without medical attention.

The current administration would rather force nurses out of the country or to other jobs than address the problems that plague the profession.

We challenge the Duterte administration to fulfill his slogan, “Tapang at Malasakit.” He must show that he cares for nurses who in turn cares for the people by doing the following:

• End all forms of contractualization and regularize contractual nurses.
• Pass the Bayan Muna version of the CPD Law.
• Ensure that the provision for 30,000 entry level salary for nurses in the public and private sectors is implemented.
• Enact a law protecting health workers.
• Repeal the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016.

As carers and stewards of our nation, health nurses deserve better.

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SEAN HERBERT VELCHEZ, RN, Philippine Orthopedic Center, Quezon City

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TAGS: Inquirer letters, Nurses Week, nurses’ wages, Rodrigo Duterte, Sean Herbert Velchez
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