Nurse ka ba?

 Why is it that Filipinos are being stereo typed as nurses or in any health care profession in general? May it be LVN, care giver and of course RN

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Although there is nothing wrong with it, considering that health care jobs are by far the most in demand job up to this date specially here in California

I guess it is the Filipinos’ compassionate heart that sets us apart.

May it be in a hospital, convalescent facilities or nursing homes, Filipinos have more of the human touch. They have real concern for their patients, so much, that even though they are dead tired, they would still give it their all for their patients, if not more.

Yet nursing is not all that it is hyped up to be.

Many are still taking nursing courses in the Philippines in the hopes that it would be their ticket to migrating to the U.S.

There are even those who quit their jobs here in America and drop everything just to go back to the Philippines where they could afford to pay for college and finish a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in the hopes that when they get back here, it would give them a better edge of changing careers and landing a job in the health care profession.

During my first years in here in Los Angeles looking for a job, people kept on insisting that I take up nursing as well, but knowing myself, I know I am not a good fit for the nursing profession. Not only don’t I have the patience to take care of patients let alone study for the course which entales a whole lot of reading.

It is certainly undeniable that nurses are paid well, as far as I know they start at a minimum of $25 to $30 per hour, and as one gains more experience it goes up to $60 per hour if not more. Not to mention those that transition to administrative duties whose salaries can be negotiated based on experience.

You have to think about it though, these nurses work hard for their pay. They work 12 to 16 hours shift sometimes even more. They are usually entrusted with four to five patients and sometimes more, depending on the which hospital floor they are assigned to, a nurse to patient ratio which are above regulation standards.

Their twelve hour shifts and four day work week do sound appealing, but that does not mean they work any less. Most of them are exhausted by the end of their shift and have not taken enough breaks. Not to mention the risk they are taking, being exposed to all kinds of diseases that they may end up bringing home to their loved ones.

If nursing is your passion, then by all means, just make sure to pass the board exam and you are all set. So far there is no shortage of opportunities when it comes to health care professions even with the recession.

Although most hospitals require three to five years experience, there are still a lot of other health care facilities such as nursing homes, adult day cares and convalescent facilities that need nurses.

You have to ask yourself, is nursing your actual calling or are you just being pressured by family and friends, who keep on saying that during these difficult economic times, nursing would be your best bet?

First off, if you are not actually in a medical field and would have to start from scratch, this means most of the subjects you took from the Philippines would not be credited except for the minor subjects which might just equivalent to a high a school graduate status! And how old are you? If you are starting from scratch, how long will it take you to finish the course, internship, gain experience and land a position that would pay you enough to pay for your student loans, bills, and feed your family?

Unless you can pay for a private college or training school, I would assume that you would have to bite on a student loan, which means you are yet to earn a salary from your new career, you already have a massive debt.  So if you think about it, your first two to five years in your new health care career, as high paying as it is, will only start to pay for bills and student loans, which means you hardly break even, with no profit.

That is assuming that you are a full time student with no family to feed.

A lot of people do succeed, but they also went through a lot to get there. A lot of sacrifices were made, time spent, and I can only assume that nursing was there passion that’s why they were able to pull through. While some, regret the decision and are just struggling to get by.

If we would expand our thinking, there are other professions that could earn you the same wages as a nurse, without going through such hardships.

Auto mechanic is one example. In dealerships selling high end brands, one could expect a minimum wage of $40/ hour no matter how quick or difficult the fix. It may be as simple as changing a loose screw or replacing an air cabin filter, wham! That’s $40 right there!

If you are to make it as a cash based business on the side, using your own tools and garage, you can set your own prices, of course in order to be competative you would have to add value to your service.

You can also upgrade yourself and train for a specific luxury brand of cars, like BMW or Volvo, their computer diagnostics alone charge for about $100 to $200 a pop!

You do not like to get your hands dirty?

How about paralegal? It may just be as simple as filling out forms to writing living trusts or wills. Then take a short course in taxation and come tax season it is all for the taking, assuming you can market yourself well. Remember, nurses pay taxes too!

Paralegal still does not appeal to you? You still want to stick to medical field?

Well you can take your pick, from being an Optician, Pharmacy Tech, Resperatory Therapist, X-ray Tech, and Massage therapist just to name a few!  These courses are not as grueling and not as time consuming as nursing, but with experience and a decent self marketing, you could gain the same earnings in less time with less student loans to pay.

You got to keep in mind, that although nursing may pay better but if you are buried in debt, then your efforts are futile. You may be able to get those loans paid by really tightening your budget and working more hours but what kind of life would that be?

If the short courses could get you in the work force faster with less loans to pay then soon after the rest would be profit.

Nursing is great for those who love it, but it is not the holy grail of opportunities that most Filipinos think it is.

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