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By Charmaine M. Parado

Last November 18, college play Ang Ikapitong Panaginip ni Adela was performed in the Medicine Auditorium. It portrayed the struggles of Adela, the representation of “Florence,” as a mentally-ill patient, as a woman, and as a NURSE.

Florence is a VOLUNTEER nurse in Maguindanao who was raped and brutally tortured. She was found unconscious and bloodied behind the hospital after attending a videoke party. This incident stirred the apprehension of nurses in the country. They worried about the security of nurses especially the volunteers and their RIGHTS.

Ang Ikapitong Panaginip ni Adela is an eye-opener. This is the condition of nurses in our country. They are “raped” or abused in different ways. Nurses are usually taken for granted. No one ever thought “What would hospitals be without nurses?”

The tear-jerking fact in our country is its ailing healthcare system.

Patients are financially abused and nurses, especially the fresh graduates, are treated by some healthcare institutions as mere experience-seekers. Instead of being paid for the services equal to the remuneration for the regular staff, they are the ones who pay just to avoid idleness and to meet the requirements for a secured employment.

It’s really odd that nurses work in hospitals as “trainees” for months to half a year like regular employees but they are the ones paying for the opportunity. This is a form of abuse because, although hospital is a different kind of place, in other establishments, when they accept trainees, they pay them with what people call, “starting salary.” The trainees’ salary is a little smaller than the regular employees’ but for a beginner in any industry, it’s more than just a wage.

Aside from that, people do not understand the fact that nurses are professionals because there are times when they are not regarded as such. In fact, some hospitals implement the contractualization of nurses.
Nurses need to undergo a complex process before having a college diploma, passing the board exam, obtaining a license, and fulfilling other requirements. Nurses are professionals who deserve a secured job.
It’s disturbing that nurses were compared to “salesladies and waiters” by a government official when asked what he/she can do to alleviate the current situation of contractualized nurses. “Ngayon puro contractualization eh, security guard, janitorial services, salesgirl, mga ganun, to avoid benefits, pero hindi dapat. Even the hotel waitresses are now contractual,” the official said.

I do not mean to undermine the people that the official compared with the nurses. However, nurses are really different from them. They didn’t need to undergo the complex process that nurses have to experience just to get a job.

I am not against anybody but it’s really painful for me to see the situation of nurses in our country thinking that what they are today is what I will possibly become someday.

There is no doubt that because of the current situation of nurses in our country, many are tempted to leave for greener pastures and many are taking up Nursing for the greater chance of working abroad.

In spite of this, we still have hope. We still see many Adelas in the hospitals, in community health centers, and even in classrooms who dream of becoming “Super Nurse” or BAYANI.

Yes, bayani or “hero” is what nurses are! They work despite all difficulties they encounter without thinking of what they will have in return. They take care of people, with their hearts, with their best efforts, and most of the time, with their own life also at risk.


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