01 March 2004

---When The Best Leave The Land

"If only the [job] market for medicine graduates were good here [Philippines]. Regretfully, many [doctors] have chosen to become nurses abroad because the pay here is no longer commensurate to what they have attained in the profession. It has become a trend. Whether I passed the board or not, my application abroad was already in motion. While it pains me to do so, I'm looking forward to going abroad and not to let the opportunity pass. Nursing jobs in the US command monthly salaries that could go into 6-digit figures in Philippine pesos."

Thus spoke Elmer Reyes Jacinto, 28, who graduated magna cum laude from Our Lady of Fatima University's College of Medicine in Valenzuela City, Bulacan province, and emerged as February's topnotcher of the medical board exams in which he scored 86.75 and topped the field of 1,825 examinees, 948 of whom passed.

This is the frontpage in today's Sunday edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

For the past five years or so, because of the economic crunch, the field of Nursing has become the number 1 job for Filipinos. Majority of those studying in college are either taking up or shifting to field of Nursing. Add to these a growing number of established professionals like lawyers, teachers, engineers, and yes, doctors, frantically getting into nursing schools to go to the US or Europe to become nurses.

Our country does not suffer from a glut of physicians. Each year, an average of nearly two thousand physicians pass the medical boards. Majority leave the country amidst the glaring fact that there are still provinces that have not seen a doctor in a long, long time.
That was the story in the past. Nowadays, I think many more doctors leave after getting a Nursing degree to work as nurses abroad.

Why? Because the grass is greener abroad. Also, there is indeed a shortage of nurses in both the US and Europe. It seems most Americans and Europeans are not inclined to become nurses and couple this with the growing population of elderly individuals, there is indeed a huge nursing vacancy waiting to be filled. It is estimated that around 1000 to 2000 nurses would be needed abroad until the year 2007.

The massive migration of the professions I mentioned above is draining the country dry. These days, it is no longer hip to be patriotic and stay to help the motherland. What is hip is to be pragmatic. It is better to be pragmatic and be happily-fed than to be heroic and hungry.

Adding more injury into this lamentable trend is the apparent nonchalance of the government. It seems undisturbed as the best of its workforce leaves the land in droves never before seen in our history. I even suspect that it is proud of this development as it reads this as more dollar remittances for its coffers. The short-term benefits may indeed be appreciable but I cannot imagine how bleak the future will be soon.

I hope the next president can change all of this. My girlfriend calls me an idealistic nut for doing so.

But where does one get hope in a situation like this?

0 reactions: