I made a letter a few weeks ago to Ms. Susan Ople of the Manila Bulletin. I shared the experiences of many newly-registered nurses (including me) here in our country.
Of us not having work as, of course, nurses.
Of us having to experience the grim reality that "palakasan" really exists.
Of us not being given attention by the government.
Of us ending up in different jobs like being employed as call center agents and med. reps.
Of us feeling unproductive.
Of us being depressed about our situation.
We used to have Manila Bulletin every Sunday but since my dad has gotten a job already, we decided to switch to the Philippine Star for entertainment purposes. It is because the bulk of Bulletin's issue every Sunday is about classified ads.
I thought Ms. Susan would not publish it in her column in the Panorama since she featured it already in her blog and so I dismissed the idea of having to wait for my letter to be featured in the Panorama of Manila Bulletin. But she did publish it.
Caught unaware of this event, my classmate and friend Shiela sent me a text message asking me if I was the one featured in Ms. Susan’s column. I said enthusiastically that it was really me.
Immediately, I sent a text message to my friend Weng asking him to secure me a copy of the Sunday issue since we had the Star at home. Luckily, he got one.
When Ms. Susan asked me if I wanted to share my letter, I said yes without batting an eyelash. I though that this would be a great opportunity to voice out our situation as nurses. So to all of you who were not able to have a copy, I am now sharing my letter to you (well, to some select friends like Mayora who regularly visits my blog):
“Hi Miss Susan! I am Charltoninho or Charlton for short. I am so overwhelmed that you actually gave time to visit my blog. I would like to apologize for not asking you for permission to link your blog at my own blog.
Every Sunday, I get to read Our Times in Philippine Panorama and I am an avid fan of yours. You have a very unique way of reaching out to your readers with your writings. With a broad range of topics, I always go to the last section of the Panorama just to read Our Times and you never fail to deliver. With the past issues, I think it would be also nice to share my own experiences about work.
I graduated in April of 2007 from one of the prestigious universities in Manila and past the licensure examination for nurses in June in that same year as well. I got good grades in college and got an award for performing well. My board rating is also decent. After a year of having accomplished those, I still got no job. I have applied at different hospitals hoping that with my good credentials, I can easily find one. However, I could not find one.
I am not alone in this situation. Most of my classmates and batch mates cannot find one as well. If there are some who got jobs, they either have a relative or family friend who works in a specific hospital. Most of the hospitals have frozen their hiring and would not accept newly registered nurses or even those who have graduated from the previous year.
What is left for us to do are the following:
a.) Apply as nurse volunteers. Here, some hospitals would provide allowance for the daily expenses of the nurse but most would not. It may be a good option but the time that you spent with the hospital is not really recognized when you are looking for a "real" job. All your hard work is not properly compensated.
b.) Apply as nurse trainees. This I think is a better one. You will really be exposed to the different areas of the hospital and get real experience. The problem? You have to pay a large sum of money! In addition, you also get to experience again the sad reality that you don't have connections for you to be easily accepted there. I know certain government hospitals who tolerate this system. They would only offer 20 slots for training and when you get accepted, you'll discover that there are 40 of you in the program with the other 20 not having to go the same procedure for application! That's absurd and unfair. They would also require applicants several trainings that cost a lot of money before being accepted in their program.
c.) Apply as call center agents, med. representatives, teach English to Koreans, etc. With many of us needing to start earning, a lot of nurses apply for jobs that are not related to our degree.
d.) Take the NCLEX, IELTS, etc. With the goal of working abroad, these examinations are required for you to be able to accomplish that. However, along these examinations as requirements is the need for you to have at least 2-3 years of hospital experience, which is somehow impossible now.
For months, I have been feeling down for not making any progress in my career. Well I guess this is the reality here in our country. It is just so ironic that some legislators would want us to stay here for some time to render service but do they really know the situation?
What makes it more frustrating is the fact that the "palakasan system" is still at play in our society. I am not bragging about my accomplishments but, am I really not better than those batch mates of mine whom I personally knew as happy-go-lucky students before? Or maybe, I am just unfortunate.
With the boom of nursing, not many of us have realized that there are a lot nurses being produced but there are fewer jobs available. I hope the government will realize this and the parents of would-be-college students.
Miss Susan, I have recently applied to a staff nurse position in another country. I am waiting for the working visa to be released. I'll update you if there has been any change in my status. Thank you so much for the time. It really means a lot to me.