By GISELLE OMBAY, GMA Integrated News
The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday called on licensed nurses once again to practice their profession in hospitals, whether public or private, amid the shortage of nurses serving the country.
DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Enrique Tayag made the appeal in response to the proposal of Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. for the DOH to track down around 124,000 registered nurses who were believed to be unemployed, underemployed, or doing non-nursing work.
Tayag said the DOH has already considered such a thing to fill in the vacancies in government hospitals.
“Paparatingin natin sa mga nurses natin: Nasaan kayo? Kailangan kayo ng ating bansa. Pumunta na kayo sa amin sapagkat hinihintay namin kayo at maaaring ito na ang pagkakataon na ang mga narses ay maglilingkod sa mga ospital, hindi lang sa pampubliko, maging sa mga pribadong ospital,” he said at a press conference.
(We ask our nurses: Where are you? Our country needs you. Come to us because we are waiting for you and this may be the time for you to serve in hospitals, not only in public, but also in private ones.)
Tayag said that while they could not force licensed nurses to work in government hospitals, the DOH will continuously announce job postings for nurses hoping that they would apply.
Health Secretary Ted Herbosa has repeatedly raised concern about this matter, noting that 4,500 plantilla items for nurses are currently vacant in over 70 hospitals of the DOH nationwide.
Private hospitals, on the other hand, also experience shortage in nurses. Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. (PHAPI) president Dr. Jose Rene de Grano said that they need 50% more of their nursing staff as many have resigned and opted for better-paying jobs elsewhere.
The DOH had said it would work with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to determine the number of nurses who passed the board, and with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to trace nurses who are not engaged and employed in the health sector. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News