The Ignored Nurses’ Rights in the Philippines

Nursing, nowadays, in the Philippines, is like a viral disease that infects many people. Every one wants to enroll in this profession so that after they graduate they would be able to work in a decent hospital, give nursing care to people and then go to abroad to earn big bucks. Hey, what can I say, I’m just presenting reality to every one especially the parents who has no complete background about the profession but only thinks of the $$$ and the sure bright future that they will have once they have a nurse in the family.
As you can experience, nursing is no longer a unique and in-demand profession in the country. It’s dignity as a vital profession that shapes up the nation’s health status has downgraded through the years. Now, people treat professional nurses in a different way. They treat them the same way as they treat servants and maids, ordering them around like they are mere helpers who follow their every command.
Doctors, on the other hand, are still treated with much respect because they have stabilized their profession’s dignity to be as such. People and patients would look up to families with doctors as intelligent breeds. But before nurses in the family was also looked up as such but now it’s like a normal occurrence.
It is a fact that patients in the hospital have rights, such as:
  1. Right to appropriate medical care and humane treatment.
  2. Right to informed consent.
  3. Right to privacy and confidentiality.
  4. Right to Information.
  5. Right to choose health care provider and facility.
  6. Right to self-determination.
  7. Right to religious belief.
  8. Right to medical records.
  9. Right to leave.
  10. Right to refuse participation in medical research.
  11. Right to correspondence and to receive visitors.
  12. Right to express grievances.
  13. Right to be informed of his rights and obligations as a patient.
With all these rights, nurses have their own rights too, such as:
1.      Nurses have the right to practice in a manner that fulfills their
obligations to society and to those who receive nursing care.
2.      Nurses have the right to practice in environments that allow them to act
in accordance with professional standards and legally authorized scopes of
3.      Nurses have the right to a work environment that supports and
facilitates ethical practice, in accordance with the Code of Ethics for
Nurses and its interpretive statements.
4.      Nurses have the right to freely and openly advocate for themselves and
their patients, without fear of retribution.
5.      Nurses have the right to fair compensation for their work, consistent
with their knowledge, experience, and professional responsibilities.
6.      Nurses have the right to a work environment that is safe for themselves
and their patients.
7.      Nurses have the right to negotiate the conditions of their employment,
either as individuals or collectively, in all practice settings.
8.      Nurses have the right not to be abused in any form by physicians, pharmacists, administrators or nursing directors. Any abuse that occurs should be dealt with in a professional and impartial manner by the nurse’s employer.
9.      Nurses have the right not to be exploited and abused by being floated to areas of practice that they are not familiar with.
10.  Nurses have the right to refuse any assignment that they feel is unsafe. Such as when a nurse is assigned a patient load he/she feels is unsafe. A nurse is assigned to work in an area of nursing in which he/she is not familiar. A nurse knows that equipment/supplies are inadequate or not available.
These solid rights are not much implemented in the country. It could either be that nurses themselves are ignorant of their own rights or that they are too afraid to strengthen their rights because they fear that they’ll be given a negative remark in their institution. Nurses in the Philippines are becoming a bunch of scary cats who only cower in their comfort zones ‘til one brave soul fights for it.
It’s not a matter of waiting for someone to die as heroes for those rights. Nurses must start with themselves and implement their rights in any workplace they are assigned to. Nurses must have pride in themselves because nursing is not just any four-year course but a crucial profession that will save lives of thousands and at the same time save much on national budgets. Act now, nurses!

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