#7 You Know You’re Filipino If At Least One of Your Relatives is a Nurse

I am a third generation nurse. This means that my grandmother and mother are both nurses. Not only that, virtually all my aunts (that is including my uncles’wives) on both sides are nurses or took up nursing at one point and I have at least 3 cousins taking up nursing.  No, it’s not as incredible as it seems. There are actually hundreds of thousands if not millions of nurses in the country.

So why are there more and more nurses in the country? Before I answer that let me take you through what young girls (and boys) go through just to become one.


When I was one, breathers were very hard to come by. Sleeping is out of the question. Being a nursing student means studying your head off at night and scraping what’s left of your brain to answers exams all day long. Add 5 hour lectures and dozens of Return Demonstrations and you get about half of what it’s like.

Then there’s duty time. Imagine waking up at 4 am to prepare to report at 6 am, getting off duty at 2 pm , making requirements till about 2 am. And just as you’re almost, just almost, at the brink of dreaming, the alarm clock rings, it’s 4 am again.

Even after doing everything that needs to be done, even being on duty on Christmas Eve (yep, tried that too),  there are many other hurdles to go through. Apparently, nursing schools have a strict, No Suffering, No Diploma Policy. I believe it employs  a technique used in military academies, terrorist training camps and in the 7th and 8th circles of hell.

See? You’d actually ask why so many are willing to go through that. Here’s the next part.


I really can’t comment on this since I actually haven’t been employed in a hospital yet. But from what I read, it’s a thankless task with low stability and even lower pay. It’s not exactly a walk in a park. Well, maybe Jurassic Park.

So going back to my query, why?

Because of the desire to go abroad. Early in the 80’s there was a very high demand for nurses in foreign countries, most especially the United States. Soon, those pioneering nurses were living the dream, having high paying jobs and being able to support their families. After that, more and more wanted to follow in their footsteps, hoping for the same fortune. Unfortunately,  finding jobs as a nurse became harder and harder. It’s either:

  1. people have decided against getting sick OR
  2. foreign countries finally decided to produce their own nurses.

I highly doubt #1 has happened so, I guess #2 happened. Well, that’s good. For the foreign countries, I mean. That’s bad for our country. Now we have hundreds of thousand of nurses with nowhere to go but call centers and teaching english to foreigners.

Sad, isn’t it?

I’d rather think of it as the Philippines being a caring country. We’re already hospitable(more on that later), we could be caring too. Nurses are trained to put their patients ahead of themselves, to forego personal necessities when necessary.

Wouldn’t you want to be around people who can do that?


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