Saguip Nars recipients: Hands-on experience serves as our weapon in the future


Mar. 03, 2016 ...

More than the emotional and physical stress of studying nursing, students of the four-year course in the Philippines face the even greater challenge of finding employment right after passing the grueling Nurse Licensure Examination (NLE).

With thousands passing the NLE year by year, there are 200,000 unemployed nurses in the Philippines in 2015, revealed by the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW).

In separate interviews, Jayson Canada, 26, and James Carangihan, 27, both Ilocano registered nurses shared similar experiences on how they struggled to find nursing-related jobs after passing the NLE in 2013 and 2009, respectively.

At first, both of them had to work as pharmacy assistants with Canada even needing to leave Ilocos Norte for a job in Baguio City.

Mahirap kumita agad ng trabaho para sa aming mga nurses, especially if you are a novice nurse kaya kailangan muna kumuha ng training and experiences,” said Canada.

Carangihan, however, noted that he did not expect the scarcity of nursing jobs these days to worsen, lamenting that most hospitals in the country and abroad hire nurses with wide-span of experience.

“I wanted to take up a hotel and restaurant management degree but when I was about to enter college, nursing was in boom which was why my mother convinced me to study it despite the high cost as we found hope that I could easily seek greener pastures,” he said.

Meanwhile, Canada said that his first priority was an education-related degree but he has found along the way his advocacy to help people through the medical field.

While nurses across the country mourn the national government’s disregard of their plight, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) has shown support to Ilocano nurses through the ‘Saguip Nars’ Program launched in March 28, 2014 by Governor Imee R. Marcos.

Noting that most nursing graduates settle for jobs unrelated to their academic training, the Saguip Nars aims to assist nurses as they search for permanent jobs.

Governor Marcos earlier remarked that the program is beneficial to “the contribution of the two-year minimum requirement of experience and at the same time keeps their professional skills going.”

As of now, the program has employed over 800 Ilocano registered nurses, most of whom are fresh graduates, adding to the 100 currently deployed in various district hospitals and rural health units (RHU) in the province.

Both Saguip Nars’ beneficiaries, Canada and Carangihan expressed how thankful they are to Governor Marcos for her concern to Ilocano nurses.

Canada, who was cited as the Best Saguip Nars of their batch last February 29, had feared that his nursing knowledge would dim without such program.

He recounted how his experience included training in most of the wards at Marcos District Hospital, adding that this became as an edge for him for being equipped with hands-on experience.

The recipients of the program are also considered as big help by the districts hospitals and RHUs who often face a shortage in staff nurses, according to Canada.

AHW noted that one government nurse attends to 50 patients nowadays in contrast to the 1:12 standard ratio of nurses to patients set by the Department of Health.

However, Canada and Carangihan both agreed that the learning experiences offered by the program have thoroughly prepared them for bigger opportunities in the future.

Our hands-on experience in Saguip Nars now serve as our foundation or weapon to whatever professional challenges that will come our way in the future and I believe that this program benefits the health [sector] of our province,” noted Canada.

Asked for his advice to future recipients of the program, Canada said: “Saguip Nars might be a small opportunity compared to our dreams of working abroad, but I know that this program will pave the way to more possibilities. It’s a process, it all comes with hard work, determination and the right timing.”