From its sudden rise to its equally sudden fall, the profession of nursing in the Philippines has seen much better days. Far from its pedestaled status in the early 2000’s, nursing is not even in the country’s top 100 demanded jobs. In spite of such, there are still over 463 nursing schools producing upwards of 6,000 nurses each year.
Today, Filipinos who still do take up nursing do so with the hopes of landing a job abroad. However, curricula in the Philippines and that of countries such as the United States and Canada vary quite differently.
Filipinos are known for their work ethic and being ‘malambing’ (a local term referring to a combination of both sympathy and compassion). This begins early on as the first two years of any nursing student’s academic life revolves around the liberal arts. With courses in the humanities and social sciences, these nurses-to-be are exposed to various cultures and stories concerning the discipline. This delicate balance is well appreciated – they develop the necessary skills to relate to people, communicatively level with them, and are constantly engendered to treat patients like their own families. While they have their majors as early as their first years in nursing school, much of their foundation lies in theories, soft sciences, and humanitarian experiences.
All courses are taught in English, the second language for all Filipinos. This allows them to develop the necessary fluency for which they are known. When they finally do land jobs in other countries, it’s never a difficult task in relating to their employers and patients.
Filipino nursing schools put a lot of pressure in research work as much as community immersion. Because of that, students develop crucial skills in technical writing, active reading, and organizational documentation alongside their ability to cope with varied personalities in real environments. These students encouraged to delve into other disciplines with the premise that nurses must be well-rounded enough to serve in any scenario and relate with the wide-ranging clientele.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing curriculum is constantly being updated. Varying from one school to another, most curriculums are reviewed and restructured as often as every 2-3 years. Long departed from the concept of developing nurses for local employment, these updates are designed to cater to foreign demands and wishes. Some schools even offer extra units in the humanities to provide students with glimpses of life abroad.
Despite the decline of the domestic nursing demand, opportunities abroad still call to many Filipinos to take up the white uniform of the nurse. The thing which gives Filipino nurses their identity in the global stage is their capacity for patient care and job expertise; this degree of work ethic is what draws most foreign countries to hiring Filipino nurses. Much of that is due to the courses they take and the experiences they have as students. The local curriculum shapes them to be well-rounded: simultaneously skilled in the technical aspects of the profession as well as adding a sense of humanism to the practice. Their work ethic is highly commended and largely appreciated, originating from the upbringing in Philippine nursing education.