Ang Nars, Inc. Position Paper on the Practice of “On-The-Job Training” or “Enforced Volunteerism”

Ang Nars, Inc. Position Paper on the Practice of “On-The-Job Training” or “Enforced Volunteerism”
Written by: Leah Primitiva G. Samaco-Paquiz, Founding President

Ang Nars believes that nurses in public and private institutions are entitled to a decent working environment as they continue to render health services to their clients.

Competent professional nurses who have earned enough skills are in fact eligible by law for employment and should be accorded the corresponding remuneration and benefits on an entry level. THESE NURSES WANT TO WORK AND EARN A LIVING. However, the lack of employment opportunities often drives these nurses to settle for far less than they deserve.

Today, voluminous applications from new nurses for “on-the-job training (OJT)” or “volunteer programs” flood hospitals all over the country. To “volunteer” means to give of one’s time to render work willingly without pay or remuneration. However, volunteerism and training are two different things. The nurses who apply for these so-called OJT positions do not receive compensation for their services. To add insult to injury, these nurses often have to pay a training fee for the “privilege” of working for these hospitals.

These nurses do not even hold any hope of being able to oppose the arrangement. Often, they simply submit to this injustice and shell out a “training fee” for the dubious privilege of being included in the shortlist of applicants who are hoping to get the first shot at a vacated plantilla position. They are given the same assignments and responsibilities as regular staff nurses for three months, but are let go of when they have served their purpose. Nurses who complete these “training programs” are given completion certificates indicating the number of hours rendered and are henceforth presumed to be good enough to meet the “experience requirement” for employment overseas. This vicious cycle repeats with new batches of nurses every three months. The major stakeholders can afford to kick the old nurses out because they never run out of applicants.

The training programs these hospitals conduct are supposed to be orientation programs on the policies and procedures for new nurses of these institutions. They should be provided free of charge by the employing local government unit, private or government health facility. These training programs should not pose as remedial programs designed to augment what these institutions perceive as a lack in these nurses’ education

Also, since these nurses are only casual employees, hospitals are not legally responsible for these OJT nurses’ actions. If these nurses were to commit mistakes on the job, who will take care of them should they be sued in court?

The issue of this “forced volunteerism” serves to remind the stakeholders of the need to rationalize the nursing profession and for the need to find ways to absorb the thousand of nurses who lack jobs in a country where nursing services, especially at the community level or at the primary level, are sorely lacking.

Ang Nars challenges its fellow nurses in positions of responsibility as well as the major stakeholders to look closely into the problems and concerns of our nurses. Ang Nars believes that these major stakeholders are a critical force that can create plantilla positions for our nurses within the government, private institutions and the community level.

Ang Nars calls on these stakeholders to help institutionalize the following changes towards our noble nursing profession: implement Sec. 32 of RA 9173, or the Nursing Law of 2002; fully implement the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers; send “Nurses To The Barrios” and “Nurses To Barangays”; encourage our nurses to “hang their shingles”; open Ang Nars Primary Health Care Clinics so our nurses can collect professional fees; provide training programs for nurses from tertiary hospitals which will be accredited by the PRC-Board of Nursing Continuing Professional Education Council; provide orientation programs for newly employed nurses with no training fees; provide proper salaries for regular staff nurses; provide humane and safe working conditions similar to those enjoyed by regular staff nurses working for these health facilities; and to create built-in system policies within the Department of Health (DOH) for nurses.



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