Youth solon to hospitals: Don’t lash out at nurses

WHY lash out at the nurses?

That was the reaction of Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino to the statement of the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) that its members  have stopped accepting nurse trainees in light of the  latter’s protest against on-the-job training (OJT) fees.

PHA president Ruben Torres said on Sunday that his group, composed of major public and private hospitals, has been put in a “bad light” due to the nurses’ expose against what they call “extortionate” internship fees.

“Closing the doors of hospitals for nurse trainees seems irrational to me. Instead, PHA should focus on improving its policies and treatment to our nurses,” Palatino said.

“The nurses did not put the PHA in a bad light. Why lash out them? It was PHA’s crude policies that have put them in a bad light. The complaint of the nurses was legitimate: why should a nurse pay for the services he or she renders to a hospital?” he furthered.

In recent reports, nurses claim that they pay a hospital as much as P7,000 to get certification or training which lasts between three to six months.

“Nurses have rights, too; they should not be at the behest of hospitals. Nurses should be able to exercise their democratic right to voice their concerns including just compensation,” Palatino said.

Palatino said that the Department of Health (DOH) should penalize the hospitals proven to be “maltreating our nurses.” DOH has recently said that it does not permit hospitals to charge any fee from trainee or volunteer nurses.

Palatino also said that “this issue grants us yet another moment to reflect on government policies and appreciation of nursing as a profession.”

“The government is so focused on sending our nurses abroad that it seems to forget about our country’s dire need for nurses and health professionals.  There are about 100,000 unemployed nurses today that the government should utilize and maximize to alleviate the health condition of the Filipino people,” he said.

“I urge the Aquino administration to start re-thinking about our labor-export policy on nurses. We should prioritize our people. We should give importance to our nurses by strengthening and implementing their rights and welfare,” Palatino said.

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