EDITORIAL - The problem of the nurses
(The Freeman) - July 8, 2020 - 12:00am

In a previous editorial, we highlighted the fact that we lack nurses and that this situation was brought on by the government, the hospitals, and other sectors in the medical industry.

The government offers little in the way of payment for the nurses. Meanwhile, their private workplaces do not even offer hazard pay and require them to work long hours. This was even before the pandemic hit.

Now we face another prospective crisis, another one to be added to the pandemic and economic crises already filling our plate. According to a report in this paper, many nurses are on the verge of quitting over various reasons.

“Our nurses have signified to resign while others are going AWOL. It’s really our problem right now. Their mental state, the fear of the unknown. They have a lot of fears because they are able to experience it – seeing their colleagues who happen to be positive for COVID-19,” Philippine Nurses Association-Cebu Chapter president, Dr. Joseph Stephen Descallar, said.

When listed, their reasons also show meager pay, long hours, and lack of adequate compensation. In short, roughly what they complained about earlier. Except that this time they added to the list the possibility of forced quarantine, and the constant risk of COVID-19 infection.

In the same previous editorial earlier mentioned, we also cautioned that if we don’t take care of our nurses then there will be no one left to take care of us and our wounded or ailing.

However, considering their “new” list of complaints seems to mirror the old one, except for the added items, it seems no action was taken to make sure the lot of our nurses improved.

There is no easy or quick way to fix this situation. However, perhaps a step in the right direction is the inclusion of nurses in the Inter-Agency Task Force Advisory Council, something that the Philippine Nurses Association-Cebu Chapter is asking for.

Again, we caution that if no action is taken to improve the lot of our nurses, we risk not just a shortage of hospital rooms for our wounded or ailing, but also a lack of the proper personnel to assist them.

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