Oversupply of Filipino nurses: the gold rush is over

Pathetic how Filipino nurses now have to pay in order to get work experience. That indeed is one for the books -- to have to pay an employer for the privilege to work for him. It's a kind of below-zero negative unemployment (unemployed na nga, negative pa). Whereas the Philippines is already known for its dirt cheap labour, it now has the distinction of being a country where negative wages are paid!

It'd be hilarious if it weren't so poignant.

True to the renowned "ingenuity" of the Filipino entrepreneur, this bizarre arrangement of employees paying their employers goes by the euphemism "training program" -- as in Philippine hospitals offer on-the-job training programs that newly-graduated nursing students can avail of if they pay said hospital "training fees".
some PHA members indeed charge fees for training programs for new nurses, a practice allowed by both the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Professional Regulation Commission.

"I'm not denying that some members are making money (on the training programs) but not all are rotten apples," [Philippine Hospitals Association (PHA) vice president Dr. Hermogenes Jarin] said.

"Nobody is twisting anybody's arm to participate in these programs."

"Indignation" coming from the Philippines' ironic "civil" society is seeing newly-amnestified mutineer "Senator" Antonio Trillanes getting "involved" in the "issue"...
Upon the suggestion of Sen. Antonio Trillanes, who was attending his first legislative hearing since being released, Jarin promised to call on PHA members to discontinue the practice of collecting fees from new nurses in exchange for short-term work.

But then what will unemployed nurses do if they cannot even pay to be employed??

Bizarre situation indeed! Unemployment so bad that the unemployed would pay to work. Amazingly, somebody got it right...
Sen. Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. said the problem of nurses' exploitation boils down to oversupply.

"Many are willing victims. Alam nila they are being exploited but they don't have other options kaya sige lang," Marcos said. "We should really look very hard on the proposal for a moratorium on (producing) more nurses."

Believe it or not, this issue comes down to the renowned lack of imagination of the Filipino -- evident in how we rush like lemmings towards what is in and what is popular. It is a uniquely Filipino phenomenon that I call The Shawarma Effect:
We define the shawarma effect, thus:

Proliferation in such undifferentiated volumes as to devalue.

The term originates from an observation of the way Filipinos approach entrepeneurship. Shawarmas are Mediterranean wraps that became an entrepeneurial rage in the Philippines back in the early 1990's. At its height, every street corner had a stand and every man and his dog was thinking: I could do that and make a killing too! Suffice to say, we don't see too many shawarma stands today as the business model replicated itself to oblivion like a spreading scum colony choking the life out of a small pond.

Just another example of the self-created "problems" of the Filipino coming back and demanding interest accrued.


  1. And why is this so bad? An oversupply in health care workers results in the reduction of the cost of health care and a better patient to nurse ratio which benefits society as whole diba? Masyado ka kasing negative. Lahat na lang you always see the glass as half empty.

  2. That's kind of like how an oversupply of jeepneys and tricycles provided a high vehicle to passenger ratio to the public at dirt cheap prices. But then you get along with that, a crap riding experience and an unsightly proliferation of these contraptions all over the cities of the Philippines.

  3. Bad analogy, dude.

    A better comparison would be if we had an oversupply of teachers. This would lead to better teacher student ratios and thus more effective education since students can get more quality time and attention.

  4. Nah. Country lasses jumped on the nursing bandwagon and returning OFWs poured their savings into jeepneys and tricycles because they were pursuing what they thought was a safe bet.

    I don't think anyone purposely went into the teaching profession with that same goal (although of course they're not gonna complain if they were paid a little bit more for their trouble).

    But do keep on trying. :-D

  5. You still have not countered my assertion that an oversupply of nurses is beneficial to society. Sure, one can have too many lawyers, engineers, or even bloggers. But medical professionals actually do some good in society and having a lot of them decreases medical costs and greatly improves the quality of care.

    Methinks you have made up your mind on the issue already and are not quite open to discussion. You are better than that mate. Don't be a ... pinoy :)

  6. Well, that's like saying one can't have too many farmers because more farmers mean more cheap food, right?

    Fact is there are too many farmers churning out the same commoditised crops just as there are too many nurses churning out the same commoditised service.

    Same banana.

  7. When there's more supply of a good than its demand, we call it surplus. This causes the good to be relatively cheap but it shall go back to the equilibrium price as its demand (theoretically) increases due to its cheap price.

    The surplus *goods* here are the nurses and our demand comes from hospitals or the health industry. However in our case, despite nurses being already cheap, we still don’t see an increase in their demand. What we mean by that is that we don’t see any significant growth of the health industry, like not many new hospitals or clinics or health service-oriented business are created these days despite nurses being cheap goods or business inputs.

    Why aren’t they taking advantage of the surplus? Why does this defy the law of supply & demand? Health service-oriented businesses are Capital Intensive in nature so Capital would constitute a dominantly bigger portion of its total costs. On the other hand, Labor wages in general would make up only a smaller portion of the total costs so whether or not nurses' wages are cheap does not make too much difference. That is why no one wants to bother putting up hospitals despite the surplus.

    And mind you, a nurse is not a nurse until it is “utilized” by a health firm. Just like wind is useless unless utilized by wind mills to turn them into electricity. These *goods*, which happen to be these 100,000 plus living warm bodies do not get utilized by firms (who don’t find them a major reduction of total costs for them to bother to start a health firm). And consequently, the health service consumers (us) don’t even benefit at all.

  8. Gambit you should have answered your own question and the answer is not enough consumers; you get C+ grade.

  9. Nurses are industrial “goods”; not commercial goods. Nurses’ industrial “consumers” are health firms. Nurses’wages whether low or high or 'negative' can never significantly influence the rate of increase in health firms because as I’ve said these firms are naturally capital intensive.

    The only time the commercial consumers, the public (us), can benefit is when price of needed capital for health firms decreases (not really decrease in wages) causing a proliferation of these said firms. That’s when *health-service*, the "good" in the commercial/consumer health market (whereas nurses are a good in the industrial health market), gets sold at a cheaper price and even at a better quality by the health firms.

  10. Gambit, your theory went through convulsions again. Nurses are never, never goods spite all economic theories -sus ginoo! Their labor is the commodity; however, they do not have the means of production and I the investor provides that means, and 'am for profit. If I can not recoup my capital outlay including the labor cost and also create surplus then I will not expand even when there is a labor glut. The key has always been the purchasing power of the consumer's demand as determinant in an open market. If we can not meet each other's needs or the other party's then there is no business between us. Capitalism might look brutal, on the contrary it is not. It will always look for the best made possible by its resources including the cream among nurses. What no one sees is constant innovation, it always try to lift humanity though it is not enough delivering the best to all. The other choice is the equal distribution of wealth then we all have equal satisfaction that gives mediocrity's rise ending in misserable complacency for all to enjoy. Is this what you want?

  11. "Nurses are never goods" Lol whut?? Any moron in the world can claim something ain't something like hmm... I can say apples are mammals, period. But where is your definitional basis for 'good' to draw such a claim?

    Laborers/workers are a common, economics textbook example of a "good" from a firm's standpoint in an industrial market. When we're talking about economics, goods are not limited to cold lifeless products, dude. Goods are anything tangible that satisfies a need through its labour or service or operation. An electric fan is a good;but blowing wind is it's 'service' and not the good. Same idea goes for nurses.

    Look, you are subtly conceding here our problem is the purchasing power of Filipinos. Yeah that's true--we can't buy sh*t. Given that, there will be no constant fine rate of increase of health firms because they face a big risk of getting under compensated by Philippine's poor ass market (oh wait we practically have a zero rate! too bad nursing graduates are so screwed...). That means our local health industry is a weak safety net or fall back option for these *labor goods*, these Pinoy nurses, when the employment abroad reaches its limit (which has already happened!). That scenario has escaped the heads of the government & these nursing graduates themselves. What a terrible foresight. Now we end up having 100,000 toxic assets with a stomach knocking the doors of call center agencies & Starbucks. Good luck to them.

    PS: LOL. How the hell did Capitalism theories and sh*t get thrown into the discussion? You sound lost bro

  12. http://kutisbayag.blogspot.com/2011/01/country-where-everybody-wants-to-be.html



    Nice blog man!! I want the morans(yes with a "a") will come to my blog and sparr with me.

    Sir Gambit here, is a mere half-aborted child. He doesnt use his mind geez! Do these nurses want to work here on our country??? Of course not!! They are blinded to the fact by GREED and Delusion that GITTING those deep-plow-ma-ass will be a ticket to RICHES(blingys!) Then what happen, a sudden trigger of overpop of nurses, called inflation of nurses. YEs shawarma effect indeed, the envy of the sheep-pinoy over the neigbhor who bathes on corned beef, M&M's and spam.

    Use our imagination gambit!Let us turn iff 1st those school smarts of yours(they are borrowed chicken nuggets from college BTWY!). Imagine your balls and gold. Of course the mens scrotum are not expensive because they are literally every man has balls and it outweighs gold my millions of tons. But imagine if it rained gold, and gold outweighs mens balls, then what will happen???

    MENS SCROTUM WILL BE MORE VALUABLE THAN GOLD MORAN!!! Just like nursing nowadays, they pay just to go to work, to GITT those papers with " Slaved my ass, 24/7 to circumsize patients" for them to go(requirement to have experience!) to abroad. Its stupidity at its finest!! And Pinoy stupidity its infinite!!!

  13. ayaw lang mag hire ng mga hospitals

  14. It's too bad for you all back there in the PH. You can NEVER come here as there are no more visas for you and no demand. Stay there and plant CAMOTE.

  15. Pinoys have bandwagon mentality, Gaya-Gaya puto

  16. Barbecue stand, sari sari store whatever is the fad there
    Pinoys jump on BANDWAGON MENTALITY.
    Want to go to USA? Buy FIXED MARRIAGE WITH CITIZEN FOR 40,000 dollars.

  17. Pinoys expect too much of America. Look, 1 million RNs cannot be accommodated here. Most will just grow old and die and never get to live the American dream, or even set foot here.


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