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Nurses’ association president quits post

Nurses’ association president quits post
By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star 08/18/2006

Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) president George Cordero has resigned from his post amid accusations that he was involved in the leakage in the nursing board examination given last June.

"I decided to resign because I want to preserve the integrity of the PNA," Cordero, who is recuperating at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City where he underwent surgery, told The STAR yesterday.

Cordero was replaced by Mylene Yap, the erstwhile PNA vice president for finance.

Cordero was linked to the alleged leakage by a fact-finding body formed by the Professional Regulation commission (PRC) to investigate the irregularity.

During its investigation, several witnesses testified that Cordero had information about the leakage prior to the examination held last June 11 and 12.

Cordero was tight-lipped when asked about this issue.

"I was told by my lawyer not to talk about this for the meantime. No comment," he said.

But Cordero claimed that if he was indeed involved in the leakage, his son — who took up the licensure examination — should have passed.

"Hindi siya pumasa (He flunked)," he said.

One witness, Dean Mary Grace Lacanaria of St. Louis University’s college of nursing, noted that prior to the examination, Cordero met with 22 deans of mostly low-performing nursing schools and examinees at a movie house in SM Manila for "final coaching."

Her testimony was corroborated by examinee Pamela Ortega, who said Cordero had asked graduates of the Philippine College of Health and Sciences (PCHS) in C.M. Recto, Manila and reviewees of the Institute for Review and Special Studies (INRESS), which he both owned, to attend the "enhancement review class."

Ortega added that the leaked "situations, questions and answers" were flashed on the movie screen in the form of a Powerpoint presentation.

In a related development, the PRC allowed yesterday those who passed the controversial June 2006 licensure examination for nursing to take their oath despite a petition for temporary restraining order to stop the oathtaking.

PRC Commissioner Avelina de la Rea said they decided to allow the oathtaking to take place to be fair to those who already want to move on and pursue a career as nurses.

"They can now come here and register if they want to take their oath," she said in an interview. The nurses, however, are advised to wear their gala during the oathtaking.

Traditionally, the PRC administers mass oathtaking among those who passed licensure tests.

For the June 2006 batch of nurses, the mass oathtaking was scheduled on Aug. 22 at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City. But this had been postponed upon the request made by nursing school deans in the wake of the controversy spawned by the alleged leakage of answers to the exam.

De La Rea said around 400 of those who passed the board exam registered yesterday for the oathtaking, which can be done at the PRC auditorium with authorized PRC officials administering the oath.

No oathtaking yet

Faculty members of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) and two other nurses’ organizations asked the Court of Appeals (CA) yesterday to stop the 14,000 new nurses who passed the board exams from taking their oath on Aug. 22.

In a 16-page petition filed through lawyer Pia Cristina Bersamin, the UST College Nursing Faculty Association, led by its president Rene Luis Tadle; the League of Concerned Nurses, headed by its president Earl Francis Sumile; and Binuklod na Samahan ng mga Student Nurse, headed by its president Michael Angelo Brant asked the CA to

immediately issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the PRC and the Board of Nursing from implementing its Resolution 31 issued last July 17 allowing the new nurses to take their oaths.

The petitioners said the PRC and the nursing board must maintain and protect the integrity and competence of the Philippine nursing profession "by ensuring that only those who have qualified in appropriate examinations are allowed into the profession."

Tadle’s group said that last July 18, they obtained a copy of Resolution 31, but they were outraged upon learning that the Board and the PRC approved a scheme for using the grades from the other

portions of the examinations in computing the grades from the invalidated portions "although the resolution invalidated portions of the nursing examinations given on June 11-12, 2006 due to the leakage."

He said that during a dialogue with the nursing board and the PRC last July 21, they and others with interest in the nursing profession lodged their objections to the admission of examinees based on engineered grades in the subject of neuro-psychiatric nursing.

"Unfortunately, leakages in Tests III as well as in Test V plagued the examinations. Many review centers acquired copies of questions asked in these tests a few days before the scheduled examination and shared these leaked questions with their reviewees. The stench of this anomaly was so massive that nursing associations and long-established schools of nursing from Tuguegarao to Zamboanga protested the careless handling of the examinations," Tadle said.

Tadle said last July 17, the nursing board, with the PRC’s approval, issued Resolution 31 where it admitted that "20 test items out of 100 in Test III were very similar in content or substance with the leaked materials and 90 items out of 100 in Test V were identical in substance, forms, situations and choices with the leaked materials."

He said instead of making its duty of ordering a retake of examinations in the affected tests, the board invalidated the 20 items of Test III and merely ordered the re-constitution of the scores in Test V, "by imputing to it the average scores from Tests I to IV."

"Petitioners and their colleagues in academe, as well as various nursing associations in the country, were outraged by respondent board and PRC’s irrational action that did not take into account the public interest in maintaining and protecting the integrity and competence of the Philippine nursing profession by ensuring that only those who have qualified in appropriate examinations are allowed into the profession," Tadle said.

He said his group and other interest groups submitted their objections and motions for reconsideration, verbally and in writing, during a dialogue with PRC and the nursing board last July 21, but the PRC scheduled the oathtaking without ruling on their objections. — With Jose Rodel Clapano


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