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Nurses Paying for Training in the Philippines


If you have followed my site from the early stages, you know I have 3 nieces living with us. All 3 are in College studying to be nurses. One of which graduate this week. Actually today is her pinning ceremony. It is a proud day for us which will continue through Wednesday when she graduates.

I do not know if there are so many people that go to college here to be nurses because of the inherent kindness of Filipinos or because there are many opportunities to work abroad.

The other day I heard on CNN news that the demand for nurses is increasing because of the increasing “Baby Boomers” getting old and the need for nursing care. U.S. President Obama mentioned in a speech about all the nurses being hired from Asia, but also mentioned that without the increase of American nurses, there will be a need to hire abroad.

There are hundreds of thousands of Nursing Graduates every year in the Philippines. After graduation, most go to a review school to study for their licensing Boards. Of course there is a fee for this school. After they pass their boards then need to locate employment. Most if not all the hospitals then charge the applicants for training at their facility.

The next step, if they want to work abroad they need to take an international licensing test “NCLEX.”

In the past a nurse had to get 2 years experience here before they can look for work abroad. My niece told me that have been reduced to 6 months.

Most families live cautiously so they can put their children through college. While in college here there are many expenses too. Most are normal costs such as transportation, housing if the family lives too far from the school, books, food, uniforms. Then they charge the students for supplies, gifts and meals for instructors and other hidden costs. This can put the families in a difficult position.  Many families have many children. They put the first through schooling and once they graduate and start working, this extra income is expected to be used to put the next child through school. I hear many times from young people that they stopped schooling because the family could not afford for them to continue.

Also in the Philippines, with so many in college graduates, even basic jobs will only be giving to graduates. Waitresses in hotels are filled by HRM graduates (Hotel and Restaurant  Management).  Draftsmen in Architectural and Engineering firms are mostly all Architect and Engineering graduates and some all ready licensed, and working for minimum wages.

A big problem here in the Philippines is the exploitation of Nurses and others seeking employment and that is “Pay for Training”. Applicants go to a hospital to get a job as a nurse and if accepted, they must pay the hospital for 3 to 6 months for their training. After that time they are not even guaranteed a permanent job.

There is a bill in Congress to make it illegal for hospitals to charge this training fee. I was told from a friend, Speaker Nograles is working hard to have this law passed. It is nice to hear about the government working hard to improve the life of its citizens. They deserve it.

20 Responses to “Nurses Paying for Training in the Philippines”

  1. Palawan says:

    Bruce, I sometimes tell those who like to get into nursing to try other courses that will allow him to be able to get into multiple jobs after she graduates….that of course is very hard to do…but it would be worth it…my friend once told me to take vocational courses as well that way can always choose a job you know you can really perform well..I do hope your nieces pass the board exam…and find work…soonhehe..

    • Bruce says:

      Vocational courses are good if your a “hands-on” person as I am. For OFW work many think of nursing but there are others, teachers, engineers, but nursing is a large one everyone thinks about. I do not know if it is the jobs abroad that attracts nursing or the inherent caring and kindness of Filipinos.
      I hope so too, and I hope the law passes so they do not have to pay for the training. Since they have worked so many duty hours, to me the term training is part of the scam.

  2. Cecily says:

    Oh, tell me about it. In 2007, I paid around 3K PHP for a training stint at DMC. The duration was 6months and it was in the ICU. Although, it was quite steep, I felt like it was a fair price to pay. After all, we used up the hospitals resources like crazy – gloves and stuff.

    The ironic thing about that is, I’m not working as a nurse now. Took me 4 years of school and over a year in trainings and volunteer work to figure out it wasnt for me.

    So may college kids are taking up nursing and I think the government should do something about it. An advisory perhaps? Just to let the students know that finding a job as a nurse (locally and abroad) is not that easy. It’s just part of the ‘grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’ kind of thinking. I thought that way – I kinda still do.

    It’s refreshing to see that you are taking a positive look into the nursing issue of the Philippines Bruce. But, somehow, I’m afraid its really not the ‘caring’ that draws students to nursing, its the prospect of working abroad. Over half of the students I went to school with saw nursing as a way out of the country – very rarely would you here someone say that they took it up in order to help the sick.

    Sure, its inherent in every trained nurse to care, but often it just becomes routine and genuine caring is lost along the way. I’m not generalizing filipino nurses, of course there are those that really care and those who are passionate about nursing.

    • Bruce says:

      First of all, you say it was OK because of you working in the ICU you used up hospital resources. IF it was in your job as a nurse to wear rubber gloves in the work of your profession, it was your job and duty to wear the gloves. Since you used them as your professional duty prescribes you were not wasting resources unless you were using the rubber gloves as balloons.
      About going into the profession for jobs, I have asked my nieces why they picked nursing and they said because they want to help in a caring profession. I always wondered about it.
      Yes there is the money or job desire. I had a cousin who went to medical school because he could make BIG money and then picked ENT and plastic surgery because it paid the higher in residency.
      I have heard some numbers, but do not know their accuracy that there 400,000 nursing graduates a year in the Philippines and that only about 1.5 percent gets jobs abroad.
      From what I read somewhere, the good prospect is a teacher of math, science and special Ed that has a big demand in the US.

  3. Cecily says:

    Haha – balloons – I think I remember one or two gloves being given permanent marker faces and blown up into baloons. 🙂 But, you’re right, the gloves are a part of the job and we did help. I used assigned to handle the medication of over 60 patients in a ward – all me – no counter-checking from the nurses or anything. That’s because DMC basically saw us as part of the staff – in a way. So, I guess we shouldnt have had to pay.

    I don’t know about the exact figures, but I think yours might be accurate. The percentage of nurses who do manage to work abroad as nurses is quite low. I used to have a clinical instructor who before teaching worked as one of the head managers for Jolibee, other CIs worked as Med-Reps.

    All the best to your nieces. I hope that they find the success that I’m certain they deserve. 😀

    Oh and, I agree with you with regards the hidden costs in nursing. When I was in school 2002-2006, the average cost for a semester when I was a junior and a senior was around 38 K, that’s excluding the cost that out of town duties add. Of course, its quite low compared to the costs of education in the US, but still – it’s a bit steep. 😀

    • Bruce says:

      I do not know where you went to school. Of my 3 nieces, one just graduated DMMA but had taken her first 3 years at UM. My other 2 nieces are at UM, one needed 2 minor subjects this summer and then will graduate and the last is starting 3rd year. I just hope and pray they will pass their boards, get the training and experience and get a job abroad and if not at a decent hospital here in the Philippines.

  4. Cecily says:

    Hello Bruce,

    I attended Ateneo de Davao University. I’m sure your nurses will do well. I wish them all the best. 😀

    • Bruce says:

      I hope they do well too. I just do not see a lot of effort at home studying to bring up grades. I feel they need top rank at graduation and high rank in boards for a better chance.
      I am shocked at how prices increased, or it has been a while since you graduated. the cost of a nursing student at UM for 2 semesters and summer classes is over 100k.

  5. Cecily says:

    It has been a while. 😀 I graduated in 2006. I have a brother who’s a nursing junior at Ateneo now and the fee is pretty much the same with UM.

  6. Kevin says:

    While the barriers to finding international employment are not as imposing as they once were, there are still some. Perhaps out of simple protectionism, US hospitals do not always recognize foreign credentials. A nurse myself, I am beginning to see a few pinay nurses here in the states. Those I have met have been exceptional.
    A nurse with two years experience can take a 3 month “travel” assignment and take home over 1000.00 a week after taxes, with healthcare and housing provided. It seems to me that would be enough to live well the other 9 months a year back in the PI. I have worked 3 months/vacationed 3 months for about a decade, enjoying my off time in Mexico and Brazil.
    It seems there is not a shortage of nurses in the PI, only a recognition of credentials.
    I wish all my fellow nurses well!

  7. The article on antibiotics are very good.

  8. sad to say that our Filipino nurses before they can have a job here in our country have to undergo training w/ pay with themselves aside from the ojt just to be hired by a particular hospital they are with, they are PAYING BEFORE THEY”re HIRED.

  9. Debbie says:

    Hi … this is just a question for anyone to answer … sorry this has nothing to do with nursing but still on the same line as the “paying for training”. I have a cousin who is now a 2nd year BSIT student in Davao and is undergoing an 8month OJT at a call center, I was surprised to learn that they are having those OJT’s these early … i thought it would be like maybe 3rd or 4th yr. But what made my jaw to drop is the fact that she’s supposed to pay 2,000php per month for that said OJT. I was flabbergasted to learn that an OJT would cost 16,000php. Then they will have another round of OJT when they reach their 4th yr. I live here in the united states, i am just wondering if anyone could tell me that such charges for OJT’s on college students are even true?. Thanks to anyone who could give any input.

    • Bruce says:

      I do not know about that, but the businesses charging for training is a common practice. To me this is such a scam, if a company wants you, they should pay you. As for OJT, sure these students are not ready for doing a complete job, but it helps with experience and gives the employer to meet outstanding people to hire in the future.
      But this is the Philippines where the rich and powerful controls the lower classes. I hope it will change someday, but I doubt it.
      With the “it’s ok” attitudes, there are not enough to stand up and demonstrate and demand change.

      philippines where

  10. Deb says:

    Hi Bruce,
    I’m in the US paying for my niece’s BS Nursing schooling in Davao. Her undergraduate thesis expenses include food for the panelists and room rental (in the school) for when she defends her thesis. This is of course on top of the OJT fees they have to pay so that they can render their services to other institutions. You are definitely right; this is an outrage. What happens to those students who can barely afford the tuition, whose parents sold everything they had for their children’s education? There is a special place in hell for greedy weasels like these.
    Thank you for setting up this forum. It is helpful in so many ways.

    • Bruce says:

      It is a shame how they force payments and extras where ever they can. As in most 3rd world countries the rich class takes advantage of everyone where ever they can.

      I am glad you like my site and feel free to ask info or ideas for any topics for me to write. I just stay away from politics.

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