Philippines suffering from shortage of nursing educators – group

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Philippines suffering from shortage of nursing educators � group
Nursing students from Centro Escolar University (CEU) gather for the annual capping and pinning ceremony at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on Friday (September 30, 2022).
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is experiencing a shortage not only in health care workers (HCWs), but also in nursing educators, according to a professional organization leader.

Philippine Federation of Professional Associations (PFPA) president Dr. Benito Atienza stressed that schools offering nursing courses could only accommodate a limited number of students due to a shortage in educators.

“Another thing that we need to resolve is the lack of nursing teachers or professors, some of whom are already going abroad,” Atienza said partly in Filipino during the Laging Handa public briefing yesterday.

“Schools cannot accept students because they don’t have enough professors, and they don’t want to compromise the quality of their education,” he added.

The insufficient number of nursing educators is just one of the issues that must be resolved to curb the HCW shortage in the country, according to the PFPA leader.

He noted that many Filipino HCWs are opting to leave the country to work overseas because of the high compensation that local hospitals could not provide them.

“The salary difference between private and government institutions is big. In the government, it’s only contractual, six months to one year only. That needs to be resolved,” he stressed.

The United States and several other countries are in dire need of HCWs and looking to the Philippines to fill the manpower requirements, according to Atienza.

He noted that the K-12 programs also caused a backlog in the generation of nursing graduates in the country.

He also observed that there are private hospitals that can no longer accommodate patients due to manpower shortages, thus the Department of Health (DOH) should sit down with medical professionals to discuss and find solutions to the problems.

“Many students should be encouraged to get into nursing so that needs here and abroad can be supplied. And students’ tracks should be figured out early on. Will they work here or abroad?” Atienza said.

He added that the government must provide incentives or scholarships to those who will take up health-related courses.

Enough funding

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Filipino Workers (AFW) yesterday urged the government to ensure sufficient funding for HCWs.

The AHW said the government must ensure that the 2023 national budget includes funds that are specifically earmarked for HCWs.

Without appropriate funding, the government cannot ensure a healthy population and a professional health care workforce, according to the group.

“Our health workers deserve to have well-funded programs that provide them with the necessary resources to do their jobs in a safe, dignified and humane manner,” the AFW said in a statement.

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