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Appellate court stops oath taking of new nurses

Appellate court stops oath taking of new nurses

MANILA -- The Court of Appeals (CA) on Friday issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) against the oath taking of students who passed the recent nursing licensure examination and enjoined officials of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Board of Nursing (BON) from implementing assailed Resolution 31.

In a resolution penned by Associate Justice Vicente Veloso, the CA Special Third Division ordered the PRC and the BON to file their comment on the petition within 10 days, without necessarily giving due course to the petition.

The CA's order came following reports that the PRC has allowed the oath taking of new nurses in several provinces despite the pending investigation on the alleged leakage of test questions during the June 11 and 26 exams.

The board, upon the supervision of the PRC, has earlier set the schedule for the oath taking on August 22.

"To preserve the rights of the petitioners pending disposition of the subject petition and so as not to render any judgment hereon moot and academic, the TRO prayed for is granted," the CA ruled.

The appellate court also set a hearing for preliminary injunction on September 14 at 2 p.m. at the Paras Hall of the CA.

For his part, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. said suspending the oath taking would be unfair for the students who passed the exam, adding that it was well within the authority of the PRC to set the date for such activity.

"That's unfair for the majority of those who took the test, who did not cheat. Why are you punishing them? They worked for it. I don't think the integrity of the exam board should be used to punish those students who passed the exam," he said.

Gonzalez further said that the leakage of information on the tests should not be taken for cheating. "You can't blame (the nursing students) if they were tipped off. It would be wrong if you cheat but if you get information, you're lucky. Cheats are those who leaked the information," he said.

The filing of the petition for injunction on Thursday was led by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) school of nursing, which asked for the suspension of the August 22 oath taking of new nurses, pending the result of an investigation regarding the leakage.

Petitioner Rene Luis Tadle, president of the faculty of the UST College of Nursing, claimed that Resolution 31 invalidated portions of the nursing examinations taken by some 42,600 students due to leakage.

Other petitioners include Earl Francis Sumile, president of the league of concerned nurses, and Michael Angelo Brant, president of the Binuklod na Samahan ng mga Student Nurses (BSSN). Of the students who took the nursing exam, only 17,821 passed the tests.

The exams covered five testing areas: (Test-I) Fundamentals of Nursing Practice; (Test-II) Community Health/Maternal and Child Nursing; (Test-III) Medical/Surgical Nursing; (Test-IV) Medical/Surgical Nursing; and (Test-V) Neuro-Psychiatric Nursing.

However, leakages in Tests III and V plagued the examinations as many review centers acquired copies of questions asked in the tests a few days before the scheduled examination and shared these with their students.

To remedy the anomaly brought about by the leakage, the PRC approved a scheme for using the grades from the other portions of the examinations in computing the grades from the invalidated portions.

Petitioners said that rather than order the retaking of examinations in the affected tests, as was its duty under existing laws and rules, the board, acting without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, invalidated the 20 items of Test III and merely ordered the scores in Test V computed again, by imputing to it the average scores from Tests I-IV.

These acts, petitioners said, as well as the scheduling of the oath-taking despite the pending investigation on the leakage, constituted grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction on the part of respondents.

They further said the refusal of respondents to set aside the scheme and the assailed BON resolution puts at risk public health and safety, and adversely affects the chances of Filipino nurses of obtaining overseas work.

"The integrity of the country's nursing exams need be ensured to maintain the good reputation of its nurses who seek overseas work to improve the lot of their families and countries," they told the CA.

They noted that because of the examination brouhaha, governments abroad are looking at how the respondents are dealing with the anomaly, but they have continued to ignore their duties under the law.

The facts of the case showed that on June 11-12, the respondents gave licensure examinations for the nursing profession in Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Legaspi, Lucena, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga.

At MalacaƱang, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the PRC remains on top of the situation and they prefer to leave the matter to the commission. "The PRC has the situation under control so there is not reason for the Palace to intervene," he said.

The PRC administered the oath to the June 11 and June 12 licensure exams passers whom officials had described as competent nurses.

PRC Commissioner Avelina de la Rea said they acknowledged the TRO sought before the CA by some of groups of nursing graduates and teachers. She said the decision to seek a TRO was the decision of just one group.

She said they pushed through with the oath taking because the investigations of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) would take time, adding that the PRC could revoke the licenses of nurses if the NBI investigation would prove that they have benefited from the leakage. (ECV/JMR/Sunnex)

(August 19, 2006 issue)


hello UST, Earl Francis Sumile, president of the league of concerned nurses, and Michael Angelo Brant, president of the Binuklod na Samahan ng mga Student Nurses (BSSN). --LAHAT KAYO TGA UST dapat iisa na lang FROM UST hahaha. Nag iba pa name para mukang madami gusto ng RETAKE

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