For the more than 2.5 million professionals in Brazilian nursing, the last few years have been a struggle. The category is still experiencing the consequences that the pandemic brought, with sick workers, without protection, on exhausting journeys and with low wages.
Added to this scenario, the reality of dismantling and unfinancing of the Unified Health System (SUS) that impacts the entire sector.
Not the most suitable photo for National Nurses Week celebrations May 12-20. The period unites the International Day of Nurses and Nurses (May 12) and the Day of the Technician, Technician and Nursing Assistant (May 20).
The dates were created to honor two historical figures, the British Florence Nightingale, a pioneer in world nursing, and the Brazilian nurse Ana Néri, a national symbol of the profession.
In the Brazil of 2022, the legacies of Nightingale and Néri are remembered in the category’s struggle to guarantee appreciation and working conditions. In an interview with the program Bem Viver, on Rádio Brasil de Fato, the president of the National Federation of Nursing (FNE), Shirley Morales, explains that this is not a new struggle, but the pandemic has opened up the problems.
“Initially, the big problem was to undo the fake news that the nursing floor was going to break Brazil and hospitals. A study by Dieese showed that the impact was not what was being conveyed by the private sector, philanthropists and even municipalities.”
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Based on the work of a committee of parliamentarians, a report confirmed that the investment required for the floor did not exceed the values shown by male and female workers. Even so, the speech of lack of money remained in the government and in the governing base.
Shirley Morales explains that, to avoid possible questions about the lack of forecast, the Senate presented a Proposal for Amendment to the Constitution (PEC), which inserts the value of the floor into the Constitution. But the PEC has not yet been put on the agenda and needs the approval of both Legislative Houses of Congress.
She recalls that there is a provision for the floor and career plans for health professionals in law.
“The PL was approved, but we still face the challenge of providing even greater support of legal certainty with PEC 11. There are rumors that there will be a presidential veto, with the justification that the project is unconstitutional, but it is not. It is totally based on legislation that has existed for many years and the federal government does not comply”, emphasizes the president of the FNE.
The mobilization also continues in the defense of Bills that try to guarantee funding for the Unified Health System.
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“We have a situation of underfunding of the SUS that has been going on since its inception. We don’t have all the necessary investments. A good part of Brazilian nursing is in the public sector and in this public sector there are specific rubrics for the primary care network, for high complexity. The costing source already exists. We try to look for more”, says Morales.
The salary issue, however, is not the only obstacle faced in the daily life of Brazilian nursing. Changes in primary care policies carried out by the federal government have generated considerable impacts
“We have a dismantling in primary care, where many of our workers are. The change in national policy is permissive for dismissals and for the mischaracterization of what we understand as a family health strategy, which had in view characteristics of territories, communities, the bond with the population. These features have been undone. We have to understand that the valuation process is not only on the floor, but also on the conditions”, concludes the president of FNE.
Editing: Rodrigo Durao Coelho