Evolving lessons of a nurse-teacher.

When people ask me what was your job before? I answered I worked as a nurse and a teacher before for almost 4 years. Upon hearing this, they have a different kinds of reaction, but the way I understand their reaction, it was more of disbelief and doubt. Yes I worked as such. I never regret any moment of it.

I am quite young and some may even think I was not yet fit for the job. Honestly speaking, I considered that seriously. Feeling people doubt you because you are young as a teacher challenged me a lot to do better. I was thinking I was getting better but somehow I lacked something. A different perspective in life, a different flavor. This has contributed me to go abroad and leave my job in the Philippines.

Worrying, ofcourse is always a result of the decision of leaving your comfort zone, but now I realize I need to see things in a larger perspective. From my present standpoint, I could see myself before very contented with my chalk or my white board marker, going to school, doing two to four regular lectures a day covering different topics of nursing. My goal was just to make students learn significant amount of knowledge and motivate them in the process for them to become nurses in the future.

Now, what is my goal? It has changed but still it has something to do with teaching and nursing. I realized our nursing education in the Philippines is not recognized in most Western countries. This is the reason why we heavily depend on the United States, as they only require nurses to pass their licensure examinations. US licensure examinations are tough. Only handful of Filipinos pass it after taking it once. However, at least they do not have to do several adjustments. In most European countries, they need high level of language requirements. This is in addition that they consider nursing education in the Philippines lesser in quality compared to that of other countries, which is also well-known of high supply nurses, like India.( Do not get me wrong but Indian nurses are very hardworking, as well like nurses from other parts of the world.) This is something I want to address in the near and in the distant future. I want Filipinos to maximize their time in school and not repeating the same lessons all over again, just because of the perception that education is lacking.

Ofcourse, I understand these countries. They have good reasons to believe so and I can not find sufficient arguments to disprove all of them, for now. If nurses from the Philippines end up as health care workers in Western countries, perhaps we should go back to a ladderized program in nursing. This is because it is really not necessary to finish a four-year course to be considered as health care workers in most of these countries. Perhaps a three-year course is sufficient for such. However, to meet the high requirements of nursing organization in most of these Western countries, adding 1 year to the present four-year course is I think justifiable to better prepare nursing professionals for the challenges in work both within the Philippines and in foreign countries. In addition to that, if a 3 plus 2 nursing program is possible. The first three year of schooling can be offered in most schools offering nursing in the Philippines, but only those schools going over 50% in passing rate in licensure examinations be allowed to offer the additional two year nursing program. In this manner, regulation is easier and changes in curriculum are better implemented.

However, these are just my humble suggestions. People may not agree with it. My assumption would be if the goal is just to allow graduates of the three year-program to become health care providers in nursing homes in Western countries, let them be. One thing I learned after going abroad, whatever health care job it is, Filipinos would grab it as long as it pays decent enough for them. Meanwhile, graduates of the five-year course have underwent extensive training and specialization, with language course preparation to better equip them for their potential foreign patients. They will act as independent practitioners in the Philippines and perhaps can also function as nurse-midwives, if they pass Midwifery licensure examinations. These independent nurse practitioners must allow be allowed to take blood as medical technologists do, because in most Western countries, nurses perform this task as well.

These suggestions will fail, if the government will not do its part in making sure these graduates land jobs within the Philippines and outside, especially in Western countries, where working conditions are better. The threat of immigration is always existing in these Western countries that only the national government can ensure flow of nursing supply is unimpeded. Realistically speaking, the Philippine government may not be able to fully accomplish this task. There is still a hope if schools and universities work together with schools in these Western countries to accredit themselves, ensuring that their graduates receive comparable education with graduates in these countries.

Easy said but difficult to do? It is. This is the reason why I stick to my present job. I know my company can help Philippines in this matter. They do have a vision of doing so. People may not fully understand what the company is doing, but I see a better future for Filipino nurses if things go well. I acknowledge some Filipinos think my company is way too expensive. Anything good comes at a good price, they say. For those who know what I meant, at present, my company is Philippines' only clear, genuine channel entering Norway and even within the European Union, given immigration laws are rapidly changing. I say this, not because I work in it, but I say it as a teacher, objectively speaking. As a teacher, my goal now is not just to make my students pass licensure examinations, but to aid them get better and high-paying jobs in the future.

Post Script: 

After several months of working in the company, I stopped. Although I saw other avenues to realize my goals to contribute for the Philippine nursing education be recognized. I am taking one step at a time. At present, I have clearer perspective of the future, but I will wait for the right time to make concrete actions. It is better to take time and prepare well, rather than making actions haphazardly and prematurely.


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