President Malayang Keynotes International Healthcare Forum
Silliman University President Dr. Ben S. Malayang III was the keynote speaker at the 9th Annual National Conference of the Asian American Pacific Island Nurses Association (AAPINA) on March 22 to 24 at Las Vegas, Nevada.
Speaking to a large audience of nurse professionals, Dr. Malayang highlighted the role of healthcare in nation building, reflecting on the conference theme: “Healthcare Reform: Impact on Research, Practice and Education”.
“The theme has to be taken in the context of a growing global population, a realistic appreciation of the vulnerabilities of the same population to climate change, and attendant challenges to achieving quality of life,” he said.
Dr. Malayang cited data from the World Health Organization (WHO) which position nursing and the healthcare profession as a strategic ally in the achievement of the eight-point Millennium Development Goals.
WHO reports that migration of healthcare professionals has led to “severe health workforce shortages” in 57 countries across the globe, with most of them in Asia and Africa.
“I share them for the reason that the AAPINA is composed of healthcare professionals. You have among you experts, decision-makers and individuals of influence. …This is where you can position yourself strategically as professionals equipped with the academic credentials, training, and commitment to patient care,” Dr. Malayang said.
He also touched on studies conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Lifting discussions from its publication, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, he said: “Indeed, the blueprint of the future of nursing around the world has to recognize the potential of nursing in the development of the No. 1 asset of any nation: human resource.”
Efforts towards this, Dr. Malayang said, however, have to reassess the extent to which nursing is able to impact and influence policy formulations.
“It may not just take education or training. It definitely requires perseverance to network and pool ideas and resources together from different sectors, in order to have a collective understanding of the value of healthcare and healthcare professionals,” he added.
Bringing the scenario closer to home, Dr. Malayang briefly discussed the abundance of nurses in the Philippines but the lack of opportunities for them to practice professionally and be compensated appropriately.
He stressed on the need for government prioritization for healthcare in the country, and also touched on how such conditions involving nurses could be attributed to the traditionalist view of the profession which finds nurses in the hospital setting only.
“But we know how nurses of today have become. They are products of nurses who are educators and researchers,” he said.
Dr. Malayang also shared information about the program at the Silliman University College of Nursing (SUCN) which puts students through comprehensive research and service-learning activities, allowing them to interact with communities outside the city.
SUCN Dean Prof. Florenda F. Cabatit was with the President at the conference.
“Equally important with training is one’s familiarity with issues on the ground. More than the practice is a deeper understanding of a global perspective of healthcare that stems from what can be an ownership of something that is local and organic to one’s community,” he said.
The President concluded his speech with his thoughts on nurses: “You breathe life to an administration of a set of instructions that you have come to memorize from college and work. Without crossing the line and compromising ethics and procedures, you put an extra effort to let your patient feel that like her or him, you too feel hurt and need care, in the same way that you can help in the healing process and the provision of care.”
This year’s AAPINA conference was organized together with the Silliman University College of Nursing Alumni Association International.