We might as well get used to the exodus of Filipinos for nursing jobs overseas. Low pay and lack of job opportunities at home guarantee that the trend will continue for some time. Even doctors – thousands of them, according to recent reports – are taking nursing courses for easier job placement abroad.
And educators and entrepreneurs have responded to the burgeoning demand. Established schools have expanded their nursing courses to accommodate more students. Some schools offer special programs for working doctors taking up nursing. A study done by the University of the Philippines – National Institute of Health showed that the number of nursing schools in the country nearly doubled within just one year, from 251 in the previous school year to 370 when classes opened this year. In the 1970s, the country had only 40 nursing schools; the figure rose to 170 in the 1990s.
With people in rich countries staying away from nursing jobs, hospitals abroad have turned to foreign workers to fill vacancies. And English-speaking nurses such as Filipinos have the edge.