Alvin Cloyd Dakis: Nursing nurses’ rights

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His strong support for various health-related advocacies, especially nurses' rights, has earned him the title "pambansang nurse (national nurse)," but Alvin Cloyd Dakis, 27, said he did not become a nurse by choice.

"I had to take up nursing because I had been offered a scholarship in the course. My family cannot afford to send me to college after I studied high school in the University of the Philippines in Cebu," Dakis told Yahoo! Southeast Asia in an online interview.

He would have studied psychology given a choice, Dakis said, even as noted that he has grown to love nursing in his third year in college.

"I fell in love with the profession and I have sworn to be proud of it when I get the license," Dakis said. "I guess I was called to reform the nursing profession, instead of becoming a doctor."

But he's no ordinary nurse for he believes "that nursing is not just bound in the walls of the hospital or the nursing school."

"Currently, the profession suffers from a great surplus: There are a lot of unemployed nurses due to lack of funds but we badly need nurses in rural and underserved areas," Dakis said.

He added that the nursing profession needs leaders who are sensitive about the needs of practitioners but who are also aware of the need to regulate the profession.

So in 2009, he formed the Alliance of Young Nurses and Advocates International, Inc., a youth-led organization which has since grown to about 12,000 members.

Back then, he was teaching at the Cebu Normal University and had pushed for improved awareness on the sexually transmitted human immunodeficiency virus among students while acting the school's student publication adviser.

When he moved to Manila in 2010, Dakis joined networks pushing for the Reproductive Health bill and became the youngest member of the expert panel of both Senate and House committees that reviewed and finalized the controversial bill.

"[D]octors and midwives spoke bravely about the bill but there were no nurses. So I led the nurses to speak for RH and educated them about the bill," Dakis said.

Issues of sexuality and rights of the community of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders are also "close to his heart," Dakis said.

"I'm an open bisexual so I speak about it," he said, admitting, however, that he had feared that revealing his sexuality would "weaken his leadership."

"But as soon as I have accepted myself fully two years ago, I was no longer afraid of being criticized for who I am," Dakis said.

"After all, my leadership is not being determined to whom I get sexually aroused," he quipped.

Dakis' honesty paid off and he became one of the well-known health champions in the country. He is currently the youth and student sector head of National Anti-Poverty Commission's health committee.

Riding on his popularity, Dakis also continuously uses his social media network to invite more people to his cause.

Dakis admitted, however, that living up to being a "pambansang nurse" is hard.

"I earn a small amount of money… I don't get anything for myself—I don't even get to watch a movie unless treated by someone," he said while laughing.

He also has his fair share of "haters", Dakis said, noting that a few more senior nurse leaders have questioned his leadership especially when he emerged into the national scene.

But Dakis said: "There are two choices before me: to work to make things better by focusing on my goals and working with like-minded people, or to spend the rest of the day dodging blows. I choose the former."

Read about the other Pitong Pinoy finalists here.


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