Monday, September 11, 2006

Plugging leaks

WE’RE not buying the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo position—“no retake” for the batch of June 2006 nursing examinees. That sounds like pandering to the infamous batch. The leakage mess will hound them, not forever but for a long time.

A professional puts a prime value on integrity, why, even a true statesman would call for snap elections to shoo away any miasma of a sham mandate. It is expected of those examinees to hew to a similar conduct— yeah, pearls will remain pearls even if they’re strewn among pebbles.

It’s not a matter of plugging a small leak, as a Dutch folktale would have it. Remember: An innocent boy spent the whole night, missed dinner, suffered body numbness. He had to hush his fears of the dark and endured biting cold. But he stood his ground plugging a small leak in the dike with his puny finger. If it were not for that act, the small leak might have grown large. That would break the dike that holds back the sea from engulfing that boy’s community. It was a boy’s courage that held the floodwaters in check. He also saw beyond a mere leak that could touch off tragic consequences for his community.

Indeed, a little leak can sink a great ship—even a multi-ton tanker like Solar I that has spawned a massive bunker fuel spill off Guimaras island. The price to pay for tragedies proves to be more costly.

For decades, our policymakers have merely sat on their fat butts as the nation leaked out its best and brightest health care workers, nurses including. The erstwhile wee leak has widened into a floodgush rushing overseas.

So, who plugs a leak that has grown gargantuan?

Admittedly, as a health professional point out, the demand for nurses in the US, UK and elsewhere has turned into the motive force shaping the crass commercialization of nursing education and the profession.

Whatever fuels the huge demand for a nursing diploma and license to ply the profession has given ground for motley scams that victimize students, their parents, and future patients.

Dump the Hippocratic Oath or whatever oath they swear to. We’re pursuing dollars and have been in pursuit of that myopic policy of exporting skills. Why, over eight million of them skilled workers turn in some $10 billion yearly to prop up an economy in crutches.

Over here, we’re warming up to a shortage of health care professionals and the inevitable crisis of the nation’s health care system.

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