The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said unemployed nurses who will be hired under the NARS (nurses assigned in rural service) program will be trained to perform public health functions and the necessary clinical tasks to enhance their employability in local hospitals and eventually in medical centers overseas.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said the NARS program is a training-cum employment scheme wherein the hired nurse-trainees will be trained not only in providing basic health services to needy folks in rural areas but also in performing clinical functions under the guidance of participating hospitals and other medical facilities in areas where the nurse-trainees will be assigned.
Roque said the Department of Health would identify the hospitals and other medical providers that would participate in the NARS program and at the same time formulate the program’s training module and related learning and development activities in close coordination with the Board of Nursing of the Professional Regulations Commission.
He added that the DOH would also closely supervise the training of the nurse-trainees whose competencies would later be assessed by the PRC-BON, thereby, ensuring that the trainees are equipped with the essential skills and knowledge for employment locally and eventually overseas.
Roque also specified that the NARS program is not a waste of taxpayer money saying that on the contrary, the program would serve the people in areas where medical services are mostly needed. He added that it would also serve as the nurse-trainee’s jump-off point for a full-time job in local hospitals where they can gain the necessary experience that would later qualify them for employment overseas.
The NARS program was launched by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the Multi-Sectoral Summit on “Joining Hands Against the Global Crisis” held recently in Malacanan Palace in line with the pump priming strategies aimed at mitigating the impact of the global financial crisis on Filipino workers.
The program aims to address the (1) glut in inexperienced nurses, (2) the proliferation of “volunteer nurses” working in hospitals without being paid, (3) promote health of the people, and (4) bring government services closer to the grassroots.
Nurses will be deployed at an average of five per town in the 1,000 poorest municipalities, for a six-months tour of duty. Completion of the training program under NARS program will be considered as a substitute for the work experience requirement of hospitals and other health facilities.
Roque said the nurse-trainees will be jointly issued the Certificate of Completion by the DOLE, DOH and PRC, adding that while on training, the nurses will be given a stipend/allowance of P8,000.00 per month.
The DOLE Chief, nonetheless, urged local governments to support the program by offering additional allowances to nurse-trainees assigned in their localities. He also appealed to corporations to chip in by providing shirts, insurance, vitamins, etc.
Unemployed registered nurses who are physically and mentally fit and willing to serve in their hometowns and who meet the following requirements may qualify for the training cum employment under NARS: a) with valid nurse license issued by the PRC b) not over 35 years old c) resident of the identified municipalities d) no nursing-related practice for 1-3 years.
Roque said qualified applicants may apply online at http//www.nars.dole.gov.ph, or at the nearest DOLE regional office from 23 February 2009 to 31 March 2009.
Nurse applicants who are children of workers affected by the global crisis will be given priority in the selection, he said.