May 30, 2024

Bicol Express News

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Medical union says foreign countries ‘pirating’ Filipino nursing students

DOH CHD Bicol photo

A medical union claimed that some European countries are “pirating” Filipino nursing students to address its huge demand for health care workers in their respective countries.

According to De La Salle University Medical Center employees’ union president Vilma Garcia, the United Kingdom and Germany are actively recruiting and offering “attractive packages” to Filipino nursing students.

Garcia in an interview said that foreign countries are giving very attractive packages to “our 2nd year nursing students so that they can continue their studies in their country and they will provide everything (including) tuition and lodging,”

“Then, when they are already practicing, they can bring their family with them. That’s a big offer and we cannot equal that,” Garcia added in Filipino and English.

The medical union president revealed that since 2022, foreign countries are directly contacting the school administration in the recruitment of nursing students.

She estimated that about a fourth of their nursing students have accepted the offer. “Of course, they’re still young and they also want to experience studying abroad.”

She also said that as part of the contract, the nursing student will have to work in the host country after graduation.

Moreover, Garcia laments that school administration is not stopping the nursing students and letting them decide if they would accept the offer from other countries.

She expressed fear that the ongoing “recruitment” of Filipino nursing students will further worsen the prevailing manpower shortage in private hospitals.

Currently, De La Salle could not operate fully and can only accommodate 43% of the bed capacity due to lack of nurses Garcia said. With a 250-bed capacity, she added that De La Salle is the biggest private hospital in Cavite.

De La Salle has a 250-bed capacity hospital which requires 340 nurses to fully operate. However, Garcia said the hospital right now has 100 nurses working at this time.

Many of La Salle’s nurses, Garcia said, have chosen to resign due to low salaries on top of being overworked. Private hospitals in the country could only afford an entry-level salary ranging from P12, 500 to P16, 000 a month. Even the employees’ union has been helping out in the recruitment of new nurses to address the shortage.

“We are already looking to the provinces for new graduates, but we can’t keep up with the competition, especially from foreign countries,” Garcia explained.

She said the manpower shortage in De La Salle is not unusual, but a common situation happening in most private hospitals nationwide.

She urged the government to immediately address the problem besetting the country’s health care system.