There a lot of students nowadays taking up Nursing course even those with degrees such as certified doctors and dentists. Medical Technologists have also been shifting to Nursing. The question is why? What are their motives?

By guess is that it is most likely because of job availability abroad because nurses have greater demand among medical fields. Yes it’s true, I remember I graduated my Nursing Profession in 1995 with a class of six sections with an average of 35-40 students per section. I thinked 1/3 of us are now working abroad including United States, London, Singapore and in the Middle East. Visit our batch website and you will see how many of us are presently working and living abroad.

A paper by Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan, former Vice-Chancellor for Research of the University of the Philippines-Manila and executive director of the National Institutes of Health-Philippines, entitled “The Brain Drain Phenomenon and Its Implications to Health” revealed that since 1994, more than 100,000 nurses have left the country to work abroad. While the ideal nurse to patient ratio is 1:4, the ratio in government hospitals has increased from 1:50 to 1:100.

The Philippines is one of the leading producers and exporters of doctors and nurses. Ironically, many LGUs find it difficult to hire physicians, nurses, and medical technicians. The Philippine General Hospital loses 300 to 500 nurses every year, it was learned. Midwives who are in the front-line in providing health services are also seeking jobs as caregivers in other countries.

Tan said in his report that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has reported that only 84,150 nurses left the country from 1994 to 2004. Other un documented or direct hired to US.

From 2000-2004, more than 50,000 have left for at least 32 countries, with the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, and Singapore as the major countries that received the bulk of nurses. “While the Philippines traditionally produce a surplus of nurses for export since the 1960’s, the large exodus of nurses in the last four years has been unparalleled in nurse migration history,” said Tan.

Tan is worried that during the past four years, from 2001-2004, the country trained less than 5,000 nurses a year while 10,000 to 12,000 nurses left the country to work abroad.

Number one factor is that ours here are over-worked and under-paid. The international standard for the ideal ratio of nurses to patients in hospitals is 1:4. but in the Philippines the ratio of nurses to patients averages from 1:15 up to 1:25. Even some premier hospitals in the country are suffering from the same situation. In Davao del Sur and in most other hospitals, the ratio would even reach 1:50 up to 1:100.

I experienced working in a hospital and got assigned in an Emergency Room alone with only one health aid but I was also handling the male surgical ward of 12-bed capacity. Imagine that.

But how can I complain? I took up Nursing and passed the Nurses Licensure exam, I am bound by my pledge, the Nursing Pledge --- the Nightingle Pledge which maybe most of us nurses forget in the chaos of everyday emergency. So below is to remind them of the Nightingle Pledge:
I solemnly pledge myself before Yahweh (Sacred Name insertion mine),
And in the presence of this assembly,
To pass my life in purity,
And to practice my profession faithfully,
I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous,
And will not take or knowingly administer any
Harmful drug,
I will do all in my power to maintain,
And elevate the standard of profession
And will hold in confidence,
All will hold in confidence,
All personal matter committed to my keeping,
And all family affairs coming to my knowledge
In the practice of my calling,
With loyalty I will Endeavour,
To aid the physician in his work
And devote myself to the welfare of
Those committed to my care.

We are bound by this pledge wherever we are. More than the money and whatever things nurses become nurses, nurses like me are commited to care.