In a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), released in World’s Health Day, nurses’ global shortage is emphasized. This has been a matter of concern since it was announced amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) across the globe.
“The WHO report of the World’s Nursing 2020 projects Stated that, without action, there will be a shortfall of 4.6 million nurses worldwide by 2030. In the Philippines, the projected shortfall of nurses is expected to be 249,843 by 2030.” This report from WHO says a lot about how oppressed the nurses in our country are. Despite the grandeur service nurses provide as part of the healthcare’s integral members, the number of recruits willing to endure the challenges of working as a nurse economically and emotionally is still declining. Do nurses really deserve their current condition?
It is more than just an ordinary profession
Nursing is not just a profession. It is considered an act of being humane towards others. Nurses have significant roles in the health industry, but still, they are often underappreciated. It is unfortunate since most of them are currently fighting as one of the frontliners against COVID-19. Despite all the complications, they are standing still in the face of the pandemic, fully aware of the sacrifices they have made along the way.
It is time to open our eyes once again. Let us delve into what makes nursing important in health management and how they deserve more than what they get.
Some people might think of a nurse’s responsibilities as inferior to what doctors do. But no, it is not. In a healthcare system, every role is dependent on each other. A nurse is responsible for monitoring the patients by checking their vital signs and subjective health preferences based on each health history. They serve as a bridge by notifying the other health professionals about each patient’s individual needs and alarms. Thus, they coordinate care delivery by physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, physical therapists, etc.
However, it is just the tip of the iceberg on the extent of nurses’ capabilities. My mother used to serve as a nurse in a public hospital in Manila. She loved to tell me stories about the policy and the services that the nurses should abide by in their work. Also, she has mentioned the sole advantage of being a nurse compared to other health practitioners.
As I found out, a nurse provides services more than just monitoring and administering medications properly. They also reach the extent of nurturing the patients’ psychological state.
A Gentle Patient’s Advocate
As a nurse, being a patient’s companion is one of the vital experiences. It includes explaining the patient’s situation in a well-mannered way without causing panic. But as a nurse, it is prohibited to give false reassurance to their patients. Being honest and at the same time, explaining what they can do for their patients’ welfare will suffice to provide them with a sense of safety. Nurses also inform the patients about things to avoid and things to apply to speed up their recovery. A nurse often encourages and teaches them about the proper way of taking care of themselves if they are able. Also, if assistance is needed, nurses will provide the necessary measures.
I also have met nurses who are willing to lend an ear to the stories of their patients. Having someone there listening to you will make you feel at ease and comfortable after all. Nurses also greet their patients with a smile every day to build a bright atmosphere in the gloomy four corners of their room. With that said, being a nurse requires mental fortitude and emotional stability. They don’t only focus on the recovery of their patients physically but also help them endure in the process that is filled with stress and fear.
The Cruel Reality Residing in Nursing
People who chose to be nurses are the ones who are fully aware of the burdens they will have to carry upon accepting such a job, but they still chose it nonetheless. Meanwhile, most nurses in the Philippines decided to go overseas for better income, leaving those who intend to provide patriotic service. These people chose to be heroes for their fellowmen, but they are mistreated by the government.
“The Philippine Government, as well as the private sector, will need to address issues on uncoordinated production and inequitable distribution by promoting decent jobs and local opportunities for career development if they are to retain an adequate number of appropriately trained nurses for the needs of the health system,” said Drs. Tauhid Islam and Socorro Escalante, current acting WHO Representatives for the Philippines.
This statement emphasizes that the government is laggard in addressing the needs of the nurses, upon considering all the services they provide as members of the healthcare industry. Currently, as frontliners battling against COVID-19, the financial compensation for all of their work will not be enough.
Is nursing important? Yes, it is. They are responsible for monitoring, assessing, and planning medications for their patients. They also explain to them the proper way to take care of themselves. If a person is bedridden or with special complications, they extend their hand to assist such patients. Their capability is not bounded only to recording and administering medicines but strengthening one’s psychological well being. They help their patients to endure their days in the hospital that may give undesired moods. Also, nurses would go all their way to lend an ear to their patient’s whims and stories. Despite facing various unfortunate imagery on their work, they are obliged to smile and relieve the people around them.
With that being said, I am strongly opposed to what nurses get in exchange for their services. I know they deserve better than just a poor treatment. They are modern heroes of society who are supposed to be in the limelight. Still, we pretend to be completely oblivious of their works. The day will surely come when our health force will crumble as the number of patients continuously increases. By that time, we would only see the gaps that only a nurse could fill.