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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Penalize hospitals engaged in work experience for sale

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A lawmaker wants to impose penalty against hospitals owners who are demanding payments from nursing graduates that want to gain work experience required for employment abroad.

"No matter how the hospital administrators call the pernicious practice—training, skills building, volunteer work or whatever—what they are doing is plain and simple exploitation," said Rep. Edgar San Luis (4th District, Laguna), author of House Bill 5985.

San Luis said these nurses are obliged to pay the hospitals in exchange for work experience.

The bill seeks to penalize public and private hospitals that demand payment from graduate nurses in exchange for actual nursing experience gained while working in a particular hospital.

Violators faces the penalty of not more than one year and a fine of not more than P100,000.

The penalty shall be imposed on the president, treasurer, or any other person responsible for the violation if the offender is an association, corporation or any other juridical person.

For the first offense, a warning shall be issued to the hospital; for the second offense, suspension of license to operate for a period of not less than six months and cancellation of license for the third offense.

Any post graduate nurse who shall be required by a hospital to pay in violation of this Act shall be refunded the full amount paid to the hospital plus interest of six percent per annum till fully paid.

A salary equivalent to not less than the minimum wage or as may be fixed by the court shall be paid by the hospital for services rendered.

San Luis said nursing job opportunities are scarce in the country because of oversupply of nurses prompting many of them to look for jobs in other countries.

He said that in 2008 the total number of nursing graduates has reached more than 67,000 and of those who took the June 2008 nursing board examinations, only 27,765 passed.

Furthermore, of the 70,000 nursing graduates in 2007, half of them are still unemployed, he added.

San Luis said more and more nursing graduates end up unemployed while many of them shifted to work in call centers, retail stores and other non-professional positions.

"Those who are lucky enough to land employment abroad usually end up as caregivers, dental assistants or nursing aides," he said.


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