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Angara laments leakage in gov’t exam for nurses

Sen. Edgardo J. Angara lamented yesterday the alleged leakage in the nursing licensure examination last June, and said the conflict of interest arose from the fact that "the guardian is chosen by the guarded."

"The root cause of the scandal engulfing the recent nursing licensure examinations lies in the fact that the members of the current exam board for nurses were handpicked by the president of the Philippine Nurses Association, who happens to be the owner of both a nursing school and a review center from where the leak allegedly came," Angara said.

Angara explained that under the nursing law, the chairman and members of the board of examiners are nominated solely by the Philippine Nurses Association, a regulatory devise intended to be a self-policing, peer-regulating mechanism which has gone askew.

"There is a Latin phrase which aptly describes it: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?" meaning, "Who will guard the guardians?" he added.

"In the Bar exams, it is the Supreme Court which picks the examiner. The Bar itself does not appoint nor nominate the examiners. This arms-length relationship develops an independence of mind between the two, which then ensures the credibility and integrity of the Bar examination."

About 42,000 nursing graduates took the board exam in 11 testing centers around the country last June, with a passing rate of 42 percent or about 17,000 nursing students.

"This issue confronting the profession hits close to home as both my parents were nurses. I have high respect for the profession, and I want it to maintain its integrity," said Angara.

Angara authored the original nurses law, as well as co-authored the amendment in 1992, which seeks to protect and improve the profession by promoting a more relevant nursing education, better working conditions, wider career prospects, and a dignified existence for Filipino nurses.

Noting that the Philippines currently holds the distinction of being the leading provider of nurses to the world, he said, "We cannot afford to stain the well-deserved good reputation of Filipino nurses and risk their employment chances. Hence, we must ensure that we continue to produce excellent nurses not only to meet foreign demand but more critically, for the health care needs of the country."


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