Filipinos can be found all over the world working in different professions. To improve the quality of life and to free themselves from the unstable economic situation in the Philippines, professionals, such as nurses and caregivers, are forced to find jobs overseas. The country is known to be the largest exporter of quality nurses. Job opportunities arose from the neighboring countries to the farthest part of the world, such as the United States of America.
Most people looking for a better life would say,
“The pasture is greener on the other side.”
From 2012 to 2016, more than 90,000 Filipino nurses leave the country to pursue their dream for a better life for themselves and their family.- POEA
Video courtesy of GMA Public Affairs
A video documentary, done by Lhar Santiago for GMA Public Affairs, showed us the lives of the Filipino nurses currently living in the United States of America. He interviewed a few nurses who were successful in their line of work and eventually granted to bring their family with them. This video also demonstrates how Filipino is able to help each other fight the loneliness and adjust with the new environment.
Without a doubt, the Philippines is able to produce the best quality of nurses in terms of quality of work and dedication. So, it’s not a shock to all that Filipino nurses are in demand in other countries.
A total of more than 180,000 Filipino nurses have taken the NCLEX, licensure examination for registered nurses and practical nurses from 2006 to the present.
Chance and Choice
The chance and choice for a better life for themselves and their family is embedded in every Filipino. The term chance is used, for the rich and poor Filipinos who given the option to migrate and establish a life on the western side of the world. On the other hand, the term choice refers to the decision to improve their lifestyle.
Filipinos see nursing as a passport and entry visa to migrate to the US. Regardless of this goal, Filipino nurses don’t disappoint their employers because they are able to maintain and provide a high standard for nursing care. What makes Filipino nurses of all profession stands out from other nationalities? They provide unique ways to take care of their client as if they were their own family member.
Major employers in the healthcare industry hire Filipino nurses because they are quick-learners, hardworking, dedicated, and compassionate, and are goal-driven. They also excel in the American language making communication easier. The Philippines have adopted bits of the American culture and language, and this kind of training influenced so many different groups of Filipinos to dream about the US and to migrate.
Filipino nurse sacrifices being with their family, with the idea that their children and family would be able to leave the wrench hole. The battle with loneliness and missing loved ones especially their children is the most difficult part of work abroad. But one has to try and live with it to succeed in providing a better life for their families. These feelings are relieved by small Filipino gatherings in parks, malls, or simple house dinners. They end up having a new family-like community that serves as their support groups. To ease these feelings, some nurses tend to drown themselves in working. They try their best to earn as much as they can to provide for their loved ones left in the Philippines. If it means that they still have to work on their days off or work double jobs, they would.
Because of the large demand of nurses, the well-experienced clinical instructors have also migrated. Thus, the quality of education is also compromised. Since the massive popularity of this profession, you can see the significant mushrooming of nursing schools since 2004 to the present in the Philippines. And all of these aspiring nurses have one thing in mind: The Great American Dream.
It doesn’t limit nurses only in the US but also other countries that hire a substantial number of nurses like the United Kingdom, or Australia, or Ireland, or even New Zealand. If these countries would not work, there are other non-English countries like Singapore, UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc. There is always somewhere Filipino nurses can go.
Salary for Filipino Nurses
In March 2018, it was reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that the median salary of registered nurses in the US is $70,000 (P3.77M) per year from May 2016 to May 2017. In the Philippines, the average pay reported by payscale.com for registered nurses is P344,074 ($6,578.22) per year plus benefits and allowances. Based on the figures you can immediately note the significant difference in salaries. It’s true enough that the pasture is definitely greener on the other side. Who wouldn’t want to earn more, right?
The constant migration of Filipino nurses in different parts of the world leaves the Philippines in a pit. Both government and private hospitals are experiencing decreases in nursing manpower. Thus, the quality of care nurses provides is compromised. As a result, this increases the patients’ complaints.
In the Philippines Nursing Act of 2002, it says that nurses should be compensated with Salary Grade 15, receiving P30,531 per month. Unfortunately, somewhere along the road, the Department of Budget and Management enigmatically maintains the nurse’s salary at Salary Grade 11 which only pays P20,754.
This topic has been an issue in the Philippines for years, countless senate and congress hearings, and numerous public rallies. Some senators see that increasing the basic pay of nurses would convince them to stay in the country and serve, resolving the understaffing of hospitals.
Migration to other countries to work is not true to some nurses in the Philippines. Some just see nursing as a passion to serve others, yet others are just claiming hospital experience for possible application overseas. But for the nurses currently working in the Philippines, the workload has been too much versus the compensation they receive.
The existing group of nurses in the Philippines gets younger and younger every year. The well-experienced nurses usually leave within 2 years, the minimum years to apply for job overseas. Leaving a newly hired nurse that only plans to stay for a year or two, given the opportunity to work with higher pay. Not only does the quality of service they provide is compromised due to lack of experience. The lack of respect for the profession, inadequate compensation, the massive overload of work, and the desire to improve one’s life drives the nurses to feel burn-out, both emotionally and physically.
Throughout the years the Philippines have produced high-quality nurses, the nurses that the country can be proud of. The display of hospitality, influence, and charisma are the qualities that differ Filipino nurses from other. It is such a pity that our own country is driving nurses to leave the country and serve other nationalities.
When you think about it, it is like the Philippines is suffering from a problem that is manageable and easily controlled. If nurses were compensated well, do you think nurses still leave and work in different countries?