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Nursing Shortage in the Philippines

Global Nursing: Shortage or Oversupply?
By Melody Lagrimas

Many people would say that there is a global nursing shortage today. But is that really true? No, I believe itís not. What I believe is that nursing is quite an unbalanced field. Why? It is because whereas many countries experience great deficits in their nursing services, others have more than what they need.

The nursing shortage is particularly experienced in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and other European countries. Even Saudi Arabia, Dubai and other Middle East countries have always been in need of thousands of nurses every year too. So when you cast your look at these countries, you could certainly say that there is indeed a global shortage of nurses.

However, if you look at other countries, particularly the Philippines and India, you could see that the nursing field shows an entirely different scenario.
Nursing in the Philippines

In the Philippines, thousands of nurses are produced by the countryís numerous nursing schools every year. The most recent licensure examination yielded around 39,000 new Registered Nurses.

But is the country able to provide all these nurses with good employment? The answer is no. There are no enough hospitals and medical facilities in the Philippines that can accommodate this annual flood of nurses. And even if there are, the meager salaries given for nursing services deter a lot of nurses from seeking domestic employment.

So why do many Filipinos continue to take up nursing even if there are no satisfactory employment opportunities awaiting them after passing the board examination? Obviously because of the attraction of working in countries where nurses are highly in demand Ė earning more in the process.

Every year, the Philippines has been sending thousands of nurses to different parts of the world, particularly the U.S., the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Australia, Canada and even New Zealand. And because of the nursing shortage present in these countries, they continue to hire foreign nurses, providing better employment benefits and higher salaries.

However, even though nursing agencies abound in the Philippines these days, many Filipino nurses find it hard to get overseas employment because of lack of hospital or clinical experience. Thatís where the irony lies Ė overseas employers generally look for nurses with hospital nursing experience, but lots of Filipino nurses donít have that, as hospital employment is simply too hard to get in the country. This scenario leads many Filipino nurses to apply for voluntary work at hospitals accepting nursing volunteers, just to gain experience. But still, some overseas employers do not count voluntary nursing as hospital experience, so where does that leave unemployed Filipino nurses? That leaves them looking for employment in non-hospital settings, or even entirely out of the nursing field, just to earn a living, and foregoing their dream of working abroad.

This is the dilemma faced by many Filipino nurses today. Some would prefer to work as volunteers just to gain the necessary hospital experience. Still, others have to look for paying jobs even if these are outside of their field just to have a regular income.

In my honest opinion, I believe that the reason why the number of students taking up Nursing continues to decrease precisely because of the fact that many people would think that this course will make them rich as it serve as their stepping stone in going abroad or any other places outside Philippines. Yes, its true. Nursing is a profession, but i say, It's not. Nursing is not a profession,rather,it is a calling or vocation. In my case, i always dream to be working in a hospital clad with white uniform while rendering my tender loving care. I hope for those who plans to take up this course, you think a hundred times first, or else you'll just waste your money. Goodluck

Posted by: Praxedes Joey Z. Buagas
Date posted: Oct 16,2011
Replied by: Ally | Date replied: Nov 10,2011

Keep on wrtniig and chugging away!

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