Filipino nurses in the United States of America and other parts of the world are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic because of their exceptional work ethic that drives them to spend more days and longer hours in the hospitals where they serve, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor said on Sunday.
“Filipino nurses in America, for instance, won’t hesitate to perform additional work on weekends and holidays, or to work the graveyard shift, when their co-workers would prefer to be off duty,” he said.
“This is why they tend to be more exposed to the hazard of catching the coronavirus disease,” he added.
Defensor is the House health committee vice chairperson.
He was responding to reports that in America alone, up to 30 percent of the nurses that have succumbed to COVID-19 are Filipinos.
According to the National Nurses United, the largest nurses’ union in America, 74 of the 245 nurses who have died of the coronavirus disease in the U.S. as of November are Filipinos.
“It is not unusual for a Philippine-educated nurse in California or Texas to be on call by two or even three hospitals. They make themselves available when needed, such as when co-workers are suddenly unable to report for work. So they really are more exposed,” Defensor said.
He offered an explanation for what he called the “unusual dedication to work” of many Filipino nurses who have chosen to practice their profession overseas, not just in America.
“Many Filipino nurses abroad started out by working and living alone – away from their family and friends here. This tends to build character as they are forced to rely on their core values in order to survive,” he said.
“The fact that Filipino nurses in foreign lands are getting rewarded generously (by their employers) merely reinforces their belief that what they are doing must be good,” he noted.
The party-list is the author of House Bill 7933 that seeks to double to P60,901 the entry-level monthly pay for Philippine government nurses to discourage at least some of them from seeking greener pastures abroad.