PNA urges gov’t to address looming nursing crisis

Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) is strongly urging the government to take a look at the deplorable situation of nurses in the country which may lead to nursing crisis.

In a press conference, PNA president Dr. Erlinda Palaganas said nurses in the country are not being valued by society and the government.

“Why do other countries value us and why don’t we value our own nurses?” Palaganas said.

Palaganas said that nurses continue to receive salary that are below the minimum wage. Looking at entry level salary of nurses in most hospitals, they are only receiving around P11,500 to P12,500 a month.

She said that in Abra, some nurses are receiving as low as P4,000. “This is not just happening in private hospitals but even in local government hospitals.”

“That is way below the minimum wage,” she said. PNA is calling on the government to implement Republic Act 9173 or the Nursing Law which states that entry level nurses should receive Salary Grade 15. That is P30,531 monthly in the 4th tranche of Salary Standardization Law.

Unsafe Working Conditions

Palaganas also hit the regrettable working conditions of nurses. “We espouse for a positive practice environment. But look at the case of UDMC (United Doctors Medical Center) now, nurses haven’t received their salaries for 45 months already.”

UDMC nurses go on working beyond 8 hours, some are on duty as much as 36 hours, she said.

[READ: PNA assists UDMC nurses to DOLE to address poor working conditions.]

“How can you allow a nurse to work that much. It’s beyond the capacity of the mind, beyond the capacity of the body, and beyond the capacity of the heart to care,” she added.

PNA head also saw a looming nursing crisis due to shortage of these healthcare professionals in the country.

“Nurses are leaving the bedside. We have received reports from all over the country that hospitals’ wings are closing due shortage of nurses.”

Nurses are going for better paying jobs not related to nursing such as in BPO industry that will give them much higher salary, Palaganas noted.

She said that such a condition wherein nurses are no longer in the bedside puts everybody in peril. It will be dangerous to the patients, and it will also be detrimental to nurse’s safety.

“The Philippine Nurses Association could no longer be silent about this, and we will knock on every agency of the government that is responsible for the condition of nurses and other healthcare professionals in the country,” Palaganas said.

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