Advocating for Nurses’ Rights: A Constant Challenge to Nurses & Healthcare Delivery System

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The Declaration of Policy of RA 9173, commonly known as the “Nursing Act of 2012 reads “it is hereby declared the policy of the State to assume responsibility for the protection and improvement of the nursing profession by instituting measures that will result in relevant nursing education, humane working conditions, better career prospects and a dignified existence for our nurses.”

While there had been some improvement, it is undeniable that there is still a long way to go to achieve much of what is stated in the declaration of policy of the same act that regulates the nursing profession in the country.

The shortage of nurses in the Philippines has become a growing concern as the pandemic continues. Actually, this is already an issue even before the pandemic, a national study conducted in 2018 has concluded that as many as three out of four local government units lack health workers. The pandemic has just made it more visible. I believe that to resolve the issue of nursing shortage in the country, mechanisms must be put up to encourage nurses who left the profession to go back and those who are already serving to remain in service.

The latest statistics show the disproportion of the number of nurses in the roster of professionals and the number of nurses employed in any healthcare setting. A large number of nurses have opted to work in different fields to be able to better provide for their families.

With nurses serving as the backbones of the country’s healthcare delivery system, it is vital to have enough nurses to attend to the health needs of the people and this can be achieved by providing humane working conditions, better career prospects, and dignified existence.

With the pandemic exposing the vulnerabilities of the country’s healthcare system and the need for nurses, there has been an increase in the pace of how some issues in the profession are addressed. While we appreciate these changes, we must seek long-term changes that will ensure the growth of the profession even a long way after the pandemic.