The world’s number one supplier of nurses is now shorthanded reaching a point of cul-de-sac. The Philippine healthcare system has deeply succumbed into a dreadful situation brought by nursing exodus, which calls for 23,000 nurses nationwide.
Statistically speaking, the country produces sufficient nurses to fill-in different nursing posts. However, they exclaimed a lack of interest in working as a nurse in the Philippines. Thousands of nurses who opted to stay in the country are making the big shift ─ in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Healthcare Industry.
From being situated in an oppressing condition, the nursing community faced a huge discontentment over the government’s lack of comprehensive and sustainable employment and retention plans for the nurses. The high hopes on Magna Carta for Public Health Workers, which was established in 1994, aimed:
a.) To promote and improve the social and economic well-being of the health workers, their living and working conditions and terms of employment; b.) To develop their skills and capabilities so that they will be more responsive and better equipped to deliver health projects and programs; c.) To encourage those with proper qualifications and excellent abilities and remain in government service; and d.) The implementation of salary grades and additional compensations, such as hazard allowance, subsistence allowance, longevity pay, laundry allowance, and remote assignment allowance ← are long-overdue promises that turn into ashes over time.
Philippine nurses pose an excellent reputation worldwide, recognized for its caliber in the strong medical background, cultural affinity with western health care, and a strong voice as English speakers.
The Philippine remains the prime talent pool of nurses known for its stature as hardworking, emphatic with warm disposition, service-oriented, creative, and analytical skills. These nurses’ attributes have perfectly fitted in the emerging trends in healthcare and customer-service outsourcing, making the Philippines the “BPO Capital of the World.”
The Rise of the BPO Industry in the Philippines
The BPO industry as a game-changer played a huge impact in resolving the unemployment issues of nursing graduates and has become one of the pillars in the country’s economic growth. The Philippines, as the “BPO Capital of the World”, has 700 outsourcing companies across the country, which employs approximately 1.35 million employees (the exact number of nurses is not mentioned) and expected to reach 1.85 million by 2022.
BPO industry may surpass OFW remittance revenues, which is currently affected by the global economic crisis with a projected total revenue of $50 billion by 2020.
As the sector is perpetually operating and expanding, the growth rate is set off for the upsurge of jobs and opportunities in the coming year. Moreover, multinational investors’ continuous interest has predicted that the BPO industry will not slow down in the year 2020 and expected to double its demand in 2022.
The Big Shift
In taking advantage of the fast-growing trends and innovations on the advancement of the healthcare industry, the Labor Secretary in the year 2012 advised 100,000 unemployed Filipino nurses to think out of the box and try their luck in the booming BPO industry offering a wide array of non-clinical but medical-related opportunities on health utilization management, care coordination, case management, and wellness functions. BPO job offers include medical transcriptionists, billers, clinical research associates, clinical specialists, medical coders, and healthcare secretaries requiring the same skills required of a nurse, like medical knowledge and the skills in applying clinical regulatory requirements.
The reason why nurses are making a big shift into the BPO industry is that because they are properly COMPENSATED.
Career-Life Balance – BPO jobs are either day-shift or shifting, Monday-Friday with the fixed weekend off days, and some are offering flexi-time working schedules. The company usually gives generous leave credits and health care benefits. They also promote well-being by investing in wellness, sports, and entertainment activities for their employees. The commuter’s welfare is also considered by providing transport to and from their workplace. Working programs and schedules are designed to fit the employees’ fast-paced life securing their comfort and convenience.
0pportunities – BPO follows an open, impartial hiring process that means a big pool for the different positions, and candidates are recommended according to their interests and experiences, not solely educational attainment. Diverse opportunities offered by the BPO industry would replace the conventional means of Filipino health workers working overseas in search of higher pay. The considerable amount of benefits, competitive salary, and advantages of working in BPO will create an interest to consider working in their home country.
Money Matters – Nurses in BPO companies receive better compensation packages, health insurance, and almost double the average monthly salary rate than those working in local and private hospitals. Aside from a fixed competitive salary, the company is also giving commissions on top of its bonuses. Salary may vary as well on the applicant’s experience, skills, and knowledge. Mostly, the salary offer will depend on how much competitors are willing to pay.
Professional de-skilling – Most nurses working in the BPO industry have their uncertainty in returning back to hospital floors due to the issue of de-skilling in terms of lack of usage and practice for bedside nursing care; and shortfalls in hospital experiences related to exposure on clinical management. Nurses who aged in the office works may find it difficult starting from scratch and issues on indifferences may arise in dealing with the new breed of millennial nurses. Other hospitals are requiring refresher courses and trainings as well.
Easy job – The hospital works of staff nurses are more physically and mentally demanding, compare to the office works of BPO employees. Beyond the oppressing condition experienced by nurses from inadequately compensated long hours overworked and yet underpaid with minimal benefits, nurses are being exploited by receiving a grueling more than an ideal nurse-patient ratio.
Networks – The industry allows local talents to negotiate with employees and clients internationally in trading transactions; these will create a multicultural workspace and open an opportunity for international markets.
Stability Adaptability – The nature of the job in terms of adaptability makes the industry survive the COVID-19 pandemic by imposing the work-from-home option for their traditional and offshore staff. This provides a sense of employment stability among its employees.
Training Education – Five billion budgets have been allocated for the coming year to support the scholarship programs and training potentials of its employees. This fund will help the steadfast enforcement of re-tooling and re-training the company’s agenda for career advancement, which may add to educational expertise and broaden competencies among medically inclined professionals.
Dynamics at Work – The company promotes career growth through work dynamics. Employees are being prepared for positions and take the chance to advance progressively in terms of job level by providing a ladder and equal opportunity to step up and spearhead a team.
The increasing issues on the nursing workforce concerning safety, recruitment, and retention are because of the low morale given to the so-called “heroes of healthcare”. The convergence of BPO and nursing health industry using a digital network became an attractive avenue for nurses who want to take flight from the pitfalls of being a Nightingale in the Philippines.
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