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Nov 21, 2003
Exodus of Nurses may Trigger Health Crisis -- PNA
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The Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) warned that continued exodus of nurses for better jobs abroad may trigger a crisis in the country's health care system in the next two years.

Elsie de Veyra, PNA president for Metro Manila, said some 40,000 Filipino nurses are now working abroad and many others are just waiting for their chance to be employed in other countries.

She stressed that nurses, if possible, should not go abroad because our own health care service and standard of nursing education will suffer.

Statistics from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration shows that a total of 7,855 Filipino nurses went to work in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom among other countries.

"Foreign hospitals usually hire skilled nurses, leaving Filipino patients in the care of inexperienced ones," she said.

She added that Filipino nurses are favorites abroad because they are compassionate, generous, skilled and dedicated to their work. These virtues, accordingly, are not easily found in nurses from other countries.

The PNA president, however, complained that nurses are not properly compensated here in the Philippines despite such characteristics. While the Philippine General Hospital pays as much as Php 15,000 per month, nurses from small private hospitals receive a monthly salary of only Php 7,000.

"The government must act now to keep our nurses. If they have their choices, if our economy is doing fine, I don't think they will want to leave. The government must act to ensure adequate salary and better working conditions from our nurses," De Veyra concluded.

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