Filipino nurses join first-ever nursing summit in Manila

By Jerome Fadriquela, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2014 04:05 PM | Updated as of Jan 29 2014 12:05 AM

MANILA - More than 400 Filipino nurses from the US, Canada, Middle East, Europe and here at home participated in the recently concluded 1st Global Summit of Filipino Nurses.

With the theme "Filipino Nurses Worldwide: Unite for Global Health and Nation Building", delegates tackled issues concerning the nursing profession.

Among the topics raised were job opportunities for Filipino nurses, quality training for nursing students, the "brain drain" caused by the nurses' diaspora, discrimination, low wages and many more.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona praised the convenors for facilitating discussions and inter-country collaboration aimed at enhancing the situation of migrant and local health professionals.

"Because we have so many nurses working abroad, mayroon tayong specific or special problems that concern nurses, dahil sa ganitong conferences nakikita natin yung pwede nating mai-ambag para meron tayong not necessarily a brain drain but a brain return," Ona said.

The day-long discussion also focused on how migrant nurses can help in improving the standard of nursing schools in the country.

"So it's time for nurses from overseas, we have reach the pinnacle of our career, now why don't we go back to the Philippines and support each other. Ask how we can contribute to nurses' education to the level before or even more," said Victoria Navarro, President of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA).

Treenee Lopez, a delegate from Vancouver and Chris Gomez of Manitoba said Pinoy nurses in Canada may be better off than their local counterparts, but they too are not immune to problems.

"It's about time that we tackle these problems. Sa Canada kailangan pa kasi ng additional schooling. Ang problema wala kasing sweldo yun habang nag-aaral. Wala silang maisuporta sa pamilya nila," said Lopez, who is the chairperson of the Global Pinoy Diaspora in Canada.

Chris Gomez, a delegate from Manitoba said, "Yung mga bagong nurses sometimes they don't follow the process, so naho-hold yung process. So the challenge is in their credentials, they are not aware of what to do."

Other delegates also recommended actions and resolutions on how to improve the overall experiences of Filipino nurses here and abroad.

A policy of declaration were drafted for implementation as a product of the summit.

The summit was sponsored by five conveners namely the Philippine nurses Association of America, the Philippine Nurses Association, the Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing, the Association of Nursing Administrators of the Philippine and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.