To be a licensed nurse here in the Philippines, looking for a job is just like holding a small key, searching for the right padlock in a pile as high as a haystack in the field.
Not my words, rather by a Qatar-based licensed Filipino nurse, Rommel, who is currently back on vacation and spending time with his family in Cavite.
Finding a job true to his calling was particularly challenging for Rommel, who was granted his license in 1995.
In an effort to stay with his wife and son while providing for their needs, he tried to apply for nursing jobs locally, which proved extremely perplexing, considering that there were only 17 good hospitals in Metro Manila—with each only looking for 10 additional staff nurses at a time.
Needless to say, Rommel landed a job as a Paramedic in the Bureau of Fire Protection under the umbrella of the DILG and served there for 10 years. The pay wasn’t what he hoped for but his experience as a firefighter gave him an edge over other applicants vying for the job he has now—a Paramedic in a petroleum plant in Qatar.
Not much has changed since 1995, especially when there are about a quarter of a million nurses being added each year. The work hunt is still just as frustrating for many registered nurses today, more so for fresh graduates.
However, there are other opportunities where you can put your education to good use while still earning, instead of just letting time pass you by.
To help you out in your career search, we’ve listed the top 5 best alternative careers in the healthcare industry not just for experienced nurses but for fresh grads, too. Take a look!
1. Patient Health Coordinator
Depending on the type of facility you’ll be working for, a patient coordinator’s responsibilities may include developing and coordinating patient care programs, preparing public relations information, and managing patient care and cases. Apparently, documentation is part of the job.
For example, if you work as a Patient Health Coordinator for Advantage Health Systems, one of your tasks is to ensure that documentation on Home Health and Hospice services are accomplished in a timely manner.
Overall, your duty is to ensure that your company is providing top-quality care, such as keeping communication lines open and making sure that the patients’ health goals are being achieved.
Entry level salaries for Patient Health Coordinators are at a minimum of PHP 12,000 and above—depending on your qualifications.
2. Medical Transcriptionist
The Medical Transcriptionist is probably the most sought-after alternative job in the healthcare information management industry among nurses today, assumingly because of its popularity among many Filipinos.
If you’ve paid a lot of attention to medical terms and procedures discussed by your professors at your university, you’ll easily feel right at home in this job.
A big chunk of your work entails listening to voice recordings, which you’ll have to convert into medical reports, charts, patient records, and other necessary documents.
The pay usually starts at PHP 12,000, again, depending on your qualifications.
eData Philippines is one of the many BPO companies that hires Medical Transcriptionists.
3. Medical Sales Representative
More than just having a pleasing personality or the gift of gab, Medical Sales Representatives are usually required to have completed a medical-related course because you need to have a good grasp of the terms and processes to be discussed in briefings and technical presentations. Most of which you’ll most likely use in your presentations to your clients who are mostly doctors and practitioners in the field.
At the same time, you need to possess some administrative skills because the job involves planning and strategizing on target areas, as well as working with a sales team.
The compensation varies depending on your performance, but according to many Medical Sales Representatives, it can be financially rewarding.
Companies such as Novartis and Pfizer will start you off with a basic salary of Php 15,000 plus commissions, when you are able to reach your target sales, along with semestral and annual incentives and 13th and bonuses based on the overall annual performance of the company.
4. Healthcare Representative
Having computer skills coupled with organizational skills and medical know-hows will make you a shoo-in for a Healthcare Representative position.
The tasks you will be assigned to do can include handling disability concerns, investigating patient complaints, and keeping your clients alerted with the latest changes in the insurance regulations and the expiration of certificates.
There will most likely be spreadsheets and client databases that you need to keep updated with accurate and timely information.
Of course, handling general inquiries is part of the package.
Starting salary rates are usually between 18,000 to Php 24,000.
5. Medical Historian (for patients)
Knowledge of the medical industry is, of course, the most important qualification for this job, as the patient’s medical history is needed to define the treatment and care that he needs.
For this position, you’ll be handling patients medical records, interviewing these patients, retrieving necessary information on their past and present medical conditions and treatments received and accomplishing accurate documentation of such.
The Medical Historian offered rates in current job openings online are undisclosed, which may mean that you may be able to negotiate with your rate from the base salary of Php 12,000 that is the going rate for most entry level positions in the Healthcare industry.
eData Philippines, aside from hiring medical transcriptionists, is also hiring medical historians for their company.
Consider Career Possibilities
Rommel recalls that before the call center era, nurses in his time were forced to take on jobs in pager companies.
Nowadays, some of the jobs that are available are offered by call center companies where you’ll have to take calls. The big difference is that you can actually make use of the education you earned and work within the healthcare industry.
Makati-based registered nurse, Jonathan Bacani, shares that the competition for nursing jobs here, especially for the newly licensed fresh graduates, is still just as competitive. Some nurses opt to work as interns with no guarantees that they’ll be absorbed by the hospitals they work for as a regular staff in the future.
Many Filipino nurses who considered a slight career deviation have found fulfillment—both personally and financially. Others use the experience to enrich better their medical knowledge, as they continue to pursue their careers in the healthcare industry.
It’s really all a matter of mindset and determination. Who knows where these opportunities will take you? After all, you’ll never know until you try.