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Gov’t temporary employment program for nurses “exploitative”

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By Anne Marxze D. Umil

MANILA – The government has found a new way of creating jobs for unemployed nurses in the country. But for progressive health workers, this new employment scheme of the Department of Health (DOH) is deceiving and exploits newly-registered nurses.

The RN Heals or the Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service is an employment program of the government to “address” the unemployment problem of nurses in the country. The program was launched by the DOH in February 2011.

According to an article, more than 59,000 nurses applied for the program but only 10,000 nurses were accommodated by the program. Those selected were deployed to 1,221 rural communities nationwide.The DOH partnered with the Department of Labor and Employment for the said program. Similar to the previous program of the government called the Nurses Assigned in Rural Services (Nars), nurses under the RN Heals program are also deployed to rural areas where health services are very much needed.However, RN Heals provides only temporary employment. “This temporary employment program initiated by the government does not at all heal the pestering labor problems besetting the nursing profession for the longest time now,” Ma. Eleonor Nolasco, of Nars ng Bayan said.

Nolasco is also a registered nurse and a community health nurse. She is the founding president and current vice president of Nars ng Bayan, an association of community health nurses and people’s health advocates.

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