Ethel Doria Sinajon is a 42-year-old registered nurse and married with two children. She was challenged to enrol in nursing as a second courser in a college in Kidapawan City due to her daughter’s condition, who is a type I diabetic. After hearing about Project Entreprenurse from her husband, Mario, she was encouraged to join also because of her daughter’s condition. “I want to share my knowledge on how to manage type I diabetic patients and act as a support group to the parents,” Ethel added.
Elizar Bulac, on the other hand, is a graduate of both BS Nursing and BS Physical Therapy. “Business is rooted in of our family. My father is a retired business manager and my mother ran her own business. I worked in a hospital for two (2) years. I also worked as Medical Sales Executive in direct selling and served as Insurance Career Agent in a prominent insurance company. These experiences have taught me to pursue my dream of becoming a successful nurse entrepreneur. This newly-formed nurse cooperative gives us hope and opportunity to fulfil our dreams.”
Secretary Marianito Roque keynoting the launching ceremonies of Project Entreprenurse
“I want to serve my community, practice my profession and earn at the same time. Another reason why I joined this project is so I can render nursing services to those who are less fortunate. I would like to discover my calling and make a real difference in the world,” says Jessamine Russel Dela Pena, member of the Davao del Sur core group of Project Entreprenurse. “Project EntrepreNurse makes it possible for us to change the face of nursing in our country. It is an opportunity to develop a higher skill in the profession. My community is starving for nurses who will not only address pathologies and epidemiology but serve as change agents and role models for environmental sanitation and safety for the good of the public. EntrepreNurse could be a significant key for social change,” thus added Kerwin Pagaran, member of the core group for Davao City. “The project makes affordable and accessible health care services to indigent Filipinos,” concluded Geofford Montejo, speaking for the core group of Davao Oriental.
The idea that nurses could engage in the independent practice of nursing is allowed in both Republics Acts 7164 and 9173 which regulate the practice of nursing, but somehow, something got lost in the translation and all our nurses were encouraged to achieve their dreams by working abroad. Project Entreprenurse, an initiative of the Department of Labor and Employment piloted in Davao, aims to change the outlook of nurses in the country and help them recognize that nurse entrepreneurship is a viable option for them. Faced with bleak prospects of formal employment in the local jobs market and dwindling opportunities abroad, the nurses of Davao have answered the call of the DOLE to engage in nursing-related businesses for themselves, such as home health care, outsourced health service delivery, lying-in clinics, etc. The DOLE will provide the start-up capital for the cooperatives.
Governor Cora Malanyaon of Davao Oriental and Secretary Esperanza Cabral signing the manifesto of support for the initiative
Nearly 500 nurses in Region 11 have now banded together to form nurses cooperatives and are busy complying with the requirements for registration with the Cooperative Development Authority as a cooperative. After registration, they will be assisted by MASICAP to put together business plans that they can use to ask for grants from government and non-government sources. Among the potential sources of revenues for the cooperatives are the local government units, Philhealth’s capitation fund, foreign donors and migrant Filipino organizations abroad. The DOH will be a critical partner as source of data on the status of health services delivery in poor rural communities. Even before CDA registration, the Davao del Norte group, buoyed by the expression of total support by Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, have already started negotiating with local chief executives, with successful results.
“I believe that the significant impact of these newly-formed nurses’ cooperatives will be in public health, where they are expected to contribute to the achievement of our Millennium Development Goals on maternal and child mortality,” explained Undersecretary Carmelita Pineda who is one of the prime movers of the initiative. USEC Pineda was the focal person of the DOLE for the hugely successful Project NARS, which deployed freshly graduated nurses to the poorest municipalities in the country for six months.
“Project Entreprenurse will push the boundaries of nursing practice in the country,” predicted Dr. Josefina Tuazon, Dean of the UP College of Nursing and an active member of the small group pushing for the project. “
“This initiative will change the face of nursing in the country,” echoed Board of Nursing member Marco Antonio Sto. Tomas, who has been pushing for nurse entrepreneurship for years.
On the other hand, DOLE Secretary Marianito Roque and DOH Secretary Esperanza Cabral, member and chair of the Philhealth Board, both vowed in a recent planning workshop for Project Entreprenurse to initiate changes in the composition of the package of benefits for Philhealth members to include home and rehabilitative services, a move seen as critical in sustaining the operations of the newly-organized nurses’cooperatives.
Author: Atty. Jalilo dela Torre
Regional Director, DOLE RO-XI