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RP nurses face rivals in US labor market

RP nurses face rivals in US labor market
July 21, 2006 ABS-CBN News (Metro)

Indians, South Koreans, Canadians and Cubans have emerged as the chief rivals of Filipinos in the nursing labor market in the United States, former senator and labor leader Ernesto Herrera said.

Herrera, secretary-general of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, said that based on the statistics from the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the Philippines remains America’s number-one supplier of foreign nurses.

He said a total of 6,171 nurses educated in the Philippines took the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for the first time from January to June this year. They accounted for seven percent of the 89,140 first-time takers of the NCLEX during the period.
The NCLEX is the final step in the nurse licensure process in the US. The number of NCLEX examinees is "a good indicator" of how many US as well as foreign nursing graduates are trying to enter the profession in that country, according to Herrera.

The NCSBN data show that from January to June this year, a total of 1,864 nurses educated in India took the NCLEX, while a total of 948 nurses trained in South Korea took the test.
Completing the top five countries with the most NCLEX takers in the six-month period were Canada and Cuba, with 504 and 260 examinees, respectively.
Herrera said NCLEX statistics also indicate that the US is producing its own nurses by the thousands, except they are still not enough to cope with the growing healthcare needs of the aging US population.

He played down reports suggesting that the leakage in last month’s nursing licensure examination would affect the deployment of Filipino nurses abroad.

"That is not true. Hospitals abroad will keep on hiring qualified Filipino nurses as long as their services are needed. Besides, professional regulators overseas have their own means of determining the eligibility of foreign nurses, such as through the NCLEX in the case of the US," Herrera pointed out.

He was reacting to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Rosalinda Baldoz’ statement that the leakage would adversely affect the Philippines’ ability to deploy nurses abroad.

"This is not to say that the our regulators should not take decisive corrective measures. Those responsible for the anomaly should be punished swiftly and adequate steps should be taken to prevent a repeat of the leakage," Herrera said.

Source: ABS-CBN News

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