Tuesday, January 27, 2004


Dear Mouse, I am not a nurse--but my mother wanted me to. I think my mother is punishing me for disappointing her to see me in white uniform. I wanted to take up Fine Arts but she said that I am going to starve in that profession. She was not a frustrated nurse-a frustrated lawyer, yes. The fist nurse in our family is my sister. My great great grandma worked in the hospital too. She was certified by the American surgeons to assist in the delivery of babies. She could deliver breached babies without the need for c-section. I did not become a nurse but everything that I breathe, think and do have something to do with nurses. No I am not connected with hospitals, neither my job is related to nursing. I have two sisters who are nurses. As an act of redemption, I sent two scholars to a nursing school.Now I have a new one. My first job in the US was to help put up a branch of placement agency that recruit nurses in US hospitals. My second job was in a nursing registry recruiting local nurses for temporary placement in hospitals that are understaffed and the third was as a consultant of a nursing registry. I have to confess however that my choice of this employment has forward integration as a selfish motive. This morning the nurse stuff came out again in the e-mail of my brother, post of sassy and article of B. Cunanan. My brother is asking what book to send my sister nurse who is starting to review for the CGFNS. Everyone is doing his share to help her get a job as a nurse. CGFNS is a test for certification of Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. Another test is the TOEFL which is a test of English as a Second Language. These two tests are just meant to determine the adequacy of nursing and communication skills of the nurse/applicants. This is the first level of screening .To qualify for these tests, the nurse should have passed the licensure examination given by the Professional Regulation Commission. A bachelor’s degree is required to take this local licensure examination and to earn this degree, the graduate should have earned units in General Education subjects, nursing skills and hours of internship in a hospital or hospitals. The final test for the nurse to practise the profession in the US is the NCLEX . Nurses who graduated from Philippines schools are BSN and RN at the same time. Nurses from the United States may be an RN but not necessarily a BSN. Confused ? Good. In the US, a nursing course is not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. As long as the nursing courses presribed to qualify for the state examination are met, a candidate can take the exam and practise as a registered nurse. This points to a very important fact that for Filipino nurses to be petitioned as a nurse, they should be college degree holders. For nurses who graduated from the US city or community college, a bachelor's degree is not a requirement. So aside from the nursing skills, our nurses are equipped with the general education that include arts,philosophy,politics and human relations. So who is better, a BSN, RN or just an RN? I am not going to refute the negative portrayal of the nurses. I did not see the episode. I do not know why they were portrayed as subversives. The sister who finished her Nursing at UP is a nurse in Boston. She came with her classmateswho worked in other hospitals in the same city. Being graduates of the state university who were nurtured to be vigilant for their rights, they are one outspoken group that will not tolerate abuse and harassment until they gain respect from their colleagues in the profession. Does that make them subversive? They speak and write good English. They were trained at the UP PGH. They have accents in their first few months but who don't? Even locals have their accents that distinguish them from those coming from other States. A Bostonian's burr is different from a Texan drawl and San Francisco accent. Nicole Kidman doesn't lose her Australian intonation, so is British Catherine Zeta-Jones. But locals will always make fun of a quaint Asian accent. They go to the point when they tell you to speak English. They won't tell that to a a heavily accented French. I would like to know the reason for featuring our nurses as such. A few weeks ago, a Chinese-american association condemned the use of the word Chinaman by a sportscaster to address a popular Chinese basketball player. They can accept ignorance as a reason but not as an excuse for such racist remark. The sportscaster made an apology. An episode of a TV series is a collaborative effort of group of writers. Who among these writers has an axe to grind for the Filipino nurses? Is the reason for the ugly presentation of the Filipino nurses due to the growing sentiment that our nurses are getting a lions’share of the market for health care professionals? Was one of the writers or a relative on a receiving end of bitchiness of a Filipino nurse?. Is the situation described a reality in Chicago hospitals? Maybe. Bitchiness is not a monopoly of a nurse or other professions working in a stressful work environment. The Filipino culture attributed to crabs has also its positive aspect. Once a Filipino gets into one institution, expect him to bring some more Filipinos until a small community that is regarded as an informal group is formed. This small group can weild non-union bargaining power. I know one bitchy non-Filipino nurse who learned the lesson of the importance of harmonious supervisor-subordinate relationship the hard way when the Filipino nurses become scarcer during her shift that she cannot wrap up her unit’s activities on time. One has also to conisder what types of nurses are we talking about here. In the Philippines, there is only one kind of nurse. Here in the States, there are as many as the functions they do. But that will be the subject of my next blog. The CA t


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