Philippine Nursing History

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History of Nursing Education in the Philippines
The history in the Philippines is closely aligned with the history of medicine in the country. With the arrival Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, developments in Philippine education were relatively slow owing to the belief of Spanish colonists, notably the friars, that the education of the natives would be detrimental to their rule over the islands (Agoncillo and Guerrero,1977). The growth of the educational institutions in the Philippines during the Spanish occupation was not a priority which allowed the proliferation and continued use of traditional health care practices that were guided by a mixture of religion, magic, and supernatural.

It was not until 1577/1578 that an implied apprenticeship training program for male “nurses” who were called enfermeros was put in place through the initiative of the catholic Franciscan order in the islands (Dela Cruz,1983; Giron-Tupaz,1952; Limson, 1999) Subsequent progress in the area of nursing education was not achieved until after the arrival of the new colonizers in 1898. Early Nurse Training During the Spanish Period and Fray Juan Clemente In general, the development of all levels in the education in the Philippines was very limited during the Spanish regime. Catholic church greatly influenced the affairs of the state and , in many instances, had a hand in the appointment and retention of the Governor Generals sent by the Spanish crown. The Goal of the colonial government was primarily to spread Catholicism; the Spanish friars viewed education as a barrier to their salvation, as well as “positively dangerous to the established order of things (Elliot,1917, p220). During their over 350 years of occupation of the country, very few educational institutions were designed to educate the rich and famous of the time, that is, the children of Spaniards and the mestizos. Furthermore, Bantug, as cited in Choy (2003) emphasized the unequal educational system under the Spaniards which only provided educational opportunities to men, while having little support even for primary education of women. Filipino women were expected to look after the household and therefore had no need to further themselves through education. The education of indios, a derogatory term used by the colonizers to refer to island natives, focused on Catholic doctrines, “and the duties of humility and obedience to superiors” (Elliot,1917, p.222). In 1578, however, by some stroke of luck, a lay Spanish brother belonging to the Franciscan Order, Fray Juan Clemente, who was described as being religious, humble, charitable, and with a genuine desire to help the sick, initiated his nursing and catechetical of works amongst the natives and other foreigners in Manila (Giron-Tupaz,1952). This was regarded as the beginning of nursing practice and training in the Philippines. At a time when leprosy was feared, Fray Clemente “took them under his care, bathed their sores, fed them and nursed them back to health (Giron-Tupaz,p.14). He was skilful in the use of herbal medicines which made up for the limited availability of drugs. The religious orders exerted their efforts to care for the sick by building hospitals in different parts of the Philippines. The earliest hospitals were: 1.Hospital real de Manila (1577)- it was established mainly to care for the spanish king’s soldiers, but also admitted Spanish civilians; founded by Gov. Francisco de Sande.

2.San Lazaro Hospital- founded by Brother Juan Clemente and was administered for many years by the hospitalliers of San Juan de Dios; built exclusively for patients with leprosy. 3.Hospital de Indios (1586)- established by the Franciscan Order; service was in general supported by alms and contributions from charitable persons. 4.Hospital de Aguas Santas (1590) – established in Laguna; near a medicinal spring, founded by Brother J. Baustista of the Franciscan Order. 5.San Juan de Dios Hospital (1596) -founded by the...
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