“I Am Nurse” Online Campaign offshoot to AYNLA’s successful Nurses Black-Out Campaign

Title: “I Am Nurse” Online Campaign
Background & History:
After the successful online campaign of AYNLA entitled Nurses’ Black-Out Campaign where nurses and supporters of the nursing causes blackened their profile pictures, AYNLA takes an offshoot online campaign to maintain the momentum of making noises for nurses rights and welfare – and the public health in general.
Nurses Black-Out Campaign was launched in cyberspace last January 1st (New Year’s Day) and lasted January 11th of 2011. This online campaign aimed to use social network media as a tool to air the concerns of thousands of Filipino nurses who are currently unemployed and underemployed (reaching around 200,000) and to stir support from individuals & or groups for the protection of nurses’ welfare and rights through cyberspace. The current Nurses Black-Out Campaign carried the ‘exploitation of nurses & the booming unemployment rate’ as its banner content in its messages.
This online campaign spread like wildfire in cyberspace and inquiries on why there are many people having black profile pictures emerged. It became a topic being discussed in wall posts, statuses and tweets. Senate Committee Chair on Health & Demography, Senator Pia Cayetano was frequently tweeted of this online campaign as well. The Black-out Campaign became a challenge to nurses and to their supporters to change their profile pictures to pitch black in Facebook, Tmbler, Twitter and some in their profiles at aynla.org since they have to sacrifice for some days where they will have to literally ‘blacken’ their profile pictures.
January 11th, the last day of the Nurses Black-Out Campaign, the Senate Committee on Health & Demography called for the very first Senate Hearing of 2011 and the first to discuss the growing practice of volunteerism prior to employment. This was chaired by Sen. Pia Cayetano together with committee members Sen. BongBong Marcos and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. The Panel of Experts were composed of DOH, PRC-BON, PNA, ANSAP, ADPCN, Ang Nars, PHA, PPTA and AYNLA where for the first time young nurses’ concerns were brought and was spoken out in the panel. After the Senate Hearing, the issue broke out and media picked and made it sensational. The plight of Filipino Nurses were exposed in the open and the media aired it for 2 weeks in a row.
In cyberspace, the Nurses’ Black-Out Campaign got online support from distinguished personalities and leaders as well. Support came from:

  • Dr. Alberto Romualdez – former DOH Secretary
  • Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan – also former DOH Secretary & Herbalist
  • Dr. Junice Melgar – Executive Director of Likhaan Center for Women’s Health
  • Ms. Elizabeth Angsioco – National Chairperson of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines & columnist
  • Rep. Raymond Palatino – Representative of Kabataan Partylist in the House of Representatives
  • Ms. Ana Santos – Editor-in-Chief of SexandSesibilities.com and blogger
  • Prof. Isagani Cruz – UP Professor and a Palanca Hall of Famer on Journalism
  • Ms. Fe Manapat – of KAKAMPI and the National Anti-Poverty Commission
  • Ms. Emee Lei Albano – Youth Advocate of the United Nations Populations Fund
  • Ms. Janice Lagman – Philippine Taekwondo Medalist & Champion
  • Mr. Aries Pollisco aka Gloc-9 – Recording artist & rapper
  • Filipino Nurses Online Community – with more than 200,000 members
  • Nurse Trainee/Volunteers – with more than 1,000 members
  • STOP MAKING NEW NURSES WORK AT HOSPITALS WITHOUT PAY!! – with more than 17,500 members
  • I AM A STUDENT NURSE! 😀 – with more than 4,500 members
  • Ateneo De Davao University
  • Emilio Aguinaldo College
  • University of Perpetual Help System DALTA & Medical Center
  • Manila Doctors College
  1. CALL ME NURSE – We encourage all nurses to use their titles in their profile names in social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tmbler, Multiply etc. e.g. Nurse Jane dela Cruz, Nurse Juan dela Cruz. This approach would tell other people that there are indeed many nurses in the country and should be treated with respect and dignity.
  1. ADVOCASIGN – The second strategy that utilizes advocacy messages through “fan signs”. Have you seen a fan sign before? Fans of a certain celebrity or personality would use different medium to express their message to their idol. In a similar light, the advocasign is a new strategy that one can use to publicly declare his or her support to the campaign.
  1. PICBADGE – The PicBadge is a Facebook Application that you may use to attach to your primary picture as a support to the cause of nurses. There are serveral Picbadges found under the category Nurses but AYNLA made one specific badge for this cause entitled “PROTECT NURSES DIGNITY”. Try attaching it in you profile picture!
  • “Love your NURSES!”
  • “I am a Nurse. I deserve equal pay.”
  • “Boycott volunteerism prior to employment!”
  • “Stop exploitation of Nurses!”
  • “Maraming nurses sa bansa nating – naghihirap!”
  • “Tao din kami. Hindi kami robot.”
  • “Uphold rights & dignity of our nurses!”

And those who supported and changed their profile pictures to black as well are:
The Nurses Black-Out Campaign also got support from group & online community pages in Facebook such as:
Schools of Nursing pages who participated:
Thousands of nurses in the Philippines participated in the Black-Out Campaign. Nurses from United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Middle East and other parts of the world also participated and shared their opinions during wall discussions and threads. Other healthcare and non-healthcare professionals, supporters, families and friends of nurses also made their profile pictures to black as their way of support to the cause of nurses.
Also there were different versions of the Black-Out Campaign that sprung from the initial campaign strategy. Some have RNs in the middle, contained the Nurses Black-out Status Message, and some had black rose in it. The Black-Out campaign was also extended until the end of the month. And before the month ends, AYNLA will give rise to the off-shoot of the Black-Out Campaign.
The “I Am Nurse” Campaign is aimed to raise awareness that nurses should be treated fairly, professionally and with dignity. Nurses should not be called with derogatory names, be whistled upon when being called and should be treated not as helpers, aids or assistants but as collaborators and authorities in healthcare. Nurses should also start referring to themselves as a Nurse when being communicated. Nurses should then start using their titles as “nurse” when they are actually doing their professional services to their patients, clients, communities or when discussing or collaborating with fellow members and professionals. By using their titles, nurses would feel dignified and respected and would be able to work well in the workplace he or she is. 
These are sample messages of Advocasigns although you may improvise your own message and the style you want it to be shown in your Profile Picture:
The goal of this strategy is to put faces of the nursing advocacy in cyberspace. This strategy would increase the online communities’ awareness of the issue and to continue drumbeating for the coming of physical mobilizations in support of the campaign for nurses rights & welfare.
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