Title: The Nurses’ Black-Out Campaign 2011
- To utilize social media as a tool for nurses’ rights awareness building;
- To initiate social & mass mobilizations in relation to the protection of nurses’ rights;
- To garner online & non-online support from individuals, organizations and communities to end all forms of discrimination and abuse to nurses in the workplaces and communities.
In 2010, the Philippine Professional Regulation Commission, head agency for all the professionals in the country stated that there is already close to 200,000 unemployed and underemployed professional registered nurses in the country. And with the recently concluded December 2010 Nurse Licensure Examinations, the Philippines will be expecting more than 20,000 additional new nurses joining the unemployed sector. This rapidly growing concern of the nurses is now a crisis in the country. The Philippines is the top producer of export nurses and supplies the nursing shortage to many foreign countries but ironically lacks many skilled nurses itself.
The country’s rural health units were lacking of many nurses to take care of the communities. One nurse is employed by the government to take care of 20-50,000 residents. In government hospitals, a nurse takes care of 20-50 patients in a ward. Still to some private hospitals, the nurse-patient ratio is imbalanced. Hospitals and healthcare facilities acknowledge their shortage of nurses but fails to hire more because of proclaimed budget constraints. Leaving dozens of nurses flooding in workplaces other than in the field of nursing.
Many expectant young nurses, wanting to gain hospital/clinical experience as a presumed key to international employment, offered their professional nursing services to the hospitals without getting paid. This practice led to the acceptance of hospitals to new nurses to practice in their hospitals tagging terms such as “Volunteer Nurses”, “OJT Nurses” and “Nurse Trainees”. However, with the overwhelming response from the new nurses, hospitals started charging training/OJT fees in exchange a certification stating that they are “trainees” of the said hospital.
Other abuses such as unfair working conditions, staffing, workplace bullying among others are being experienced by nurses who remained to be largely unreported. Other exploitation are also prevalent such as the exorbitant fees charged by Review Centers to nursing students are also rampantly unregulated.
Main Organizing Body:
The main organizer of this online movement is the Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders and Advocates International Inc., a national registered organization of nurse leaders & advocates in the Philippines.
This project is coursed through the Alliance’s network local chapters & through Ang KatipuNurse the Alliance’s political arm in the following areas:
National Capital Region
- Las Piñas
- CAR Baguio-Benguet
- Ilocos Sur
- Nueva Ecija
- Nueva Vizcaya
- Camarines Sur
- Negros Oriental
- Davao Del Sur
- Davao Del Norte
- General Santos
Implementing Partners: These are online communities, societies and organizations who are fully supporting the online campaign. Together, they raise awareness to their subordinates online and maintains communication with AYNLA to get materials necessary for the campaign.
Current listing of online Implementing Partners:
1. Filipino NURSES online community (base members: 197,303)
2. I am a Student Nurse online community (base members: 4,547)
3. Ateneo de Davao College of Nursing online page (base members: 1,988)
Medium of Campaign: Online resource mobilization; social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Tmbler, Multiply etc.)
Online Slogan: “Over 200,000 nurses are unemployed, underemployed & abused in the Philippines. Many of us are overworked but extremely underpaid. Help us gather awareness & support by changing your profile picture to pitch black from January 01-11,2011. It is time we take care of our prime care professionals! Appreciate your Nurses, take care of them – like they take care of you. Join the campaign now! [www.aynla.org]”
Campaign Period: January 01 – 11, 2011 (Initial 11 days from the start of the year)
1. Nurses’ right to security of decent employment
- Demand urgent action of the Philippine Government to the ballooning unemployment rate of Filipino nurses through (A) Senate and Congressional inquiries and investigations, and (B) Formation of a multi-sectoral/agency commission or task force to oversee the Nursing Crisis.
- Implement Republic Act 9173 or otherwise known as the Philippine Nurses Act of 2002 and the Magna Carta of Public Health Nurses especially the implementation of Salary Grade 15 (SG15) for entry-level nurses and other stipulated benefits such as hazard pay, night differential pay & allowances.
- Reject internationally signed treaties such as Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) where the Filipino nurses are in the losing end because of inequalities; pass Reproductive Health Bill with emphasis on trained Nurses being in the frontline of RH education and service employed by the government deployed to clinics nationwide.
- Regulate exorbitant charges made by institutions such as Review Centers to students taking the Board Exam.
2. Nurses’ right to equality & to be free from all forms of discrimination
- Eliminate all forms of discrimination in the workplace such as but not limited to (A) verbal, physical and sexual abuse, (B) name calling, branding and stigmatization, and (C) LGBT nurses rights.
- Practice equal staffing in hospitals and clinics abolishing coercive 16, 18 to 24-hour duty shift and adherence to desired nurse-patient ratio of 1:20 or lesser.
- Provide avenues for alternative earning opportunities for Filipino nurses such as initial seed funding for Nursing Clinics and or loaning for interested nurses venturing on cooperatives.
- Phase I – Nurses Black-Out Online Campaigning through major social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Multiply. Total black-out in profile photos are solicited when participating in the campaign. The online campaign will last until January 11, 2011. A probable culminating awareness activity may be set on the last day of the campaign.
- Phase II – Nurses Rights Day After the Black-Out Campaign, we will declare every 11th of the month as the Nurses’ Rights Day where we can once again go on Black-out online and do some awareness drives in localities where nurses belong. Awareness drives may be in form of pictorials, forums, seminars etc. The Nurses Rights Day shall be commemorated every 11th day of the month until we reach it’s first year. Then we will evaluate each progress of the campaign. Nurses Hour is an hour allocated per working shift dedicated to Filipino nurses.
- Phase III – Physical Mobilizations will be done after we have gathered sufficient online support. Mass mobilizations such as gatherings, legislative fora, consultation meetings, benefit shows etc. can be done. International mobilizations are also expected.