We need to solve our nursing shortage ASAP!

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila - The Freeman

The big news these days is that Cebu is having serious trouble in our hospitals due to the severe shortage of nurses. We read in the news that Joseph Stephen Descallar, president of the Philippine Nurses Association Cebu Chapter, said that private facilities should prioritize increasing the salaries and benefits of nurses since compensation issues are among the top reasons why nurses opt not to work in hospitals, thus prompting the present “nurse shortage.” He added that the lack of nurses is a national issue and not unique to Cebu. “Not only the Philippines is in need of nurses but other countries also. That's why our nurses are going abroad, including our seasoned and highly skilled nurses.”

One reality in this country is that Filipino nurses abroad are receiving about P80,000 monthly or more as compared to here where they get only between P10,000 to P12,000 monthly. This is a sad reality we learned a few weeks ago. Private hospitals in Cebu are troubled by the shortage of nurses, causing some to close rooms or even entire floors. Indeed, gone are the days when we had an abundant supply of nurses in the Philippines as only a few could be accepted abroad.

I even recall that an official of the Department of Health wanted to shut down Nursing schools because their output is that those nurses end up working abroad and not in the Philippines. So the situation today is that there are patients who have no choice but to wait for painful long hours in emergency rooms or in hospital hallways because they cannot be attended by nurses as there are too many patients.

Come now, we have always known that there was a shortage of nurses in the Philippines, but this is the first time ever that this shortage has really affected many hospitals. For sure, many foreign nations also have a shortage of nurses in their own country and have now accepted Filipino nurses. But what aggravates the situation today is an IT company that accepts Filipino nurses pays almost the same wages nurses get in the US, but these nurses are based here in the Philippines, which is a huge advantage for these nurses.

Remember that even if a nurse is accepted, let’s say, in San Francisco, California, and receiving high salaries, getting a place to stay in San Francisco is a huge problem for these nurses because homes there are very expensive. So at this point, even increasing the pay of nurses at this time, will not solve our pressing problem. I’m not saying that increasing the salaries of nurses will put an end to the nursing shortage, but certainly it can help our current dire situation.

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I wrote last Monday to challenge the officers of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to solve the perennial flooding of that part of Banilad-Talamban Road near Family Park, where MCWD has a facility. However, it seems that I’m not getting any feedback from MCWD if they have accepted my challenge to them. I mean, if MCWD can solve that flooding problem, there isn’t anything that they cannot solve. Perhaps the problem lies upon the reality that MCWD doesn’t seem to care about our suggestions despite it being a positive one!

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Finally, I heard a good report coming from Cebu Province when Provincial Board Member Glenn Anthony Soco proposed an ordinance requiring drivers of vehicles involved in accidents to immediately pull out from the highway. When I was CITOM chief 19 years ago, I had such an ordinance requiring all traffic enforcers to carry chalk so they can mark the position of each vehicle so it can be towed away, thus eliminating a potential traffic problem. Honestly, I do not know if the current Cebu City Transportation Office enforcers are doing this.

I must insist that many traffic congestion situations stem from the fact that these are caused by traffic accidents. So the faster that they can remove vehicles involved in accidents, the better we can solve our traffic mess. Apparently there was an earlier proposal for the immediate pullout of vehicles involved in minor road accidents after taking necessary photos and videos of the incident. Both proposed ordinances are now pending before the PB committee on public services. Let’s have these approved, but please make sure that this law is implemented, otherwise the ordinance becomes useless!


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THAT DOES IT - By Anne Sanchez | December 4, 2021 - 12:00am
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