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Low wages, understaffing push remaining nurses into long shifts

PHILIPPINES: A shortage of workers is forcing many nursing professionals into taking on dangerously long shifts of up to 12 hours at a time.

According to De La Salle University (DLSU) Medical Center employees union president Vilma Garcia, understaffing has made it difficult for nurses to go back to working eight hour shifts.


This, in turn, prevents them from taking on more patients at the DLSU Medical Center, the largest hospital in the local Cavite region.


“Even if the patient has money, we can’t admit them simply because there’s no one to assist them,” Garcia has advised.


The 250-bed capacity hospital requires a nursing staff of 340, but the DLSU Medical Center has less than a third of that number currently on staff.


According to Garcia, private hospitals offer an entry wage of between PHP 12,500 and PHP 16,000 (USD 230 to USD 295) per month, while government hospitals offer a higher wage of PHP 35,000 per month (USD 640).


The promise of additional allowances has not stopped newly nurses from leaving Philippine hospitals after around two years of employment, seeking greener pastures in countries such as the UK and Germany.

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