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Prosecute nursing test leakers now—Gordon

Prosecute nursing test leakers now—Gordon
By Ronnie E. Calumpita, Reporter

SEN. Richard Gordon on Tuesday stressed the urgency to prosecute the persons involved in the nursing examination leakage following reports the United States National Council of State Boards of Nursing has deferred the Philippines’ accreditation as a venue for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

“The recent nursing exam controversy would definitely affect the evaluation of the Philippines as a possible test site by the NCSBN,” said Gordon, a member of the Senate Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization that is investigating the leak.

On Monday Dante A. Ang, chairman of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), said he had received information that the country’s application for inclusion on the list of international testing centers of the NCLEX has been put on hold.

Several NCSBN officials visited the Philippines in March to discuss the country’s bid to become an accredited international venue for the US nursing licensure exam. Ang said at least 83 percent of NCLEX examinees in international testing centers, particularly in Hong Kong, Guam and Saipan, are Filipinos.

He noted that until the leakage issue gave a bad name to the June 2006 examinees, the Philippine application to become a testing center was already in “third base.”

The NCSBN officials are closely monitoring the developments in the leakage issue and the government’s investigation into it.

Gordon said that an immediate prosecution of the individuals responsible for the leakage will show that the Philippine does not tolerate such a wrongdoing that taints the credibility and integrity of the country’s nursing profession.

“We need to show to the NCSB, as well as the general public and the rest of the world, that we are a responsible nation. We will hold the guilty parties behind this fiasco accountable for their actions, because we value the honesty and credibility of our licensure examinations, and the integrity of our Filipino nurses,” Gordon said.

Gordon said having NCLEX held in the Philippines will further boost the country’s nursing profession and lessen expenses of Filipino nurses who want to take the examination to practice nursing in the US.

Filipino nurses spend huge amount of money for travel and accommodation besides the NCLEX fee of $200 just to be able to take the qualifying exam.

“As it is, the path of our Filipino nurses is paved with a lot of difficulty,” Gordon said.
He criticized the Professional Regulation Commission for invalidating the two portions of the exams that were allegedly leaked to examinees.

Last week the PRC issued Board Resolution 31 which allowed some of the successful examinees to take their oaths despite the leakage.

On Friday the Court of Appeals issued a restraining order on the enforcement of the resolution and the oath-taking of the new nurses.

Gordon wants the examinees to retake Tests 3 and 5 of the licensure examinations.
Questions in these parts of the examination were allegedly shown to reviewers during the final coaching conducted by a nursing school and a review center.

In a related development, Southeast Asian countries will sign an agreement to liberalize the nursing profession in December 2006, which officials said will be a major boost for the region’s health-care industry.

“Asean has finalized the Mutual Recognition Arrangement on nursing, which is expected to be signed at the 12th Asean Summit in Cebu in December 2006,” the bloc said in a statement.

Syed Amin AlJeffri, co-chairman of the Asean Business Advisory Council, hailed the agreement, foreseeing the region as an emergent “hub for the health-care industry” that will attract foreign investors to set up hospitals here.

“It is a billion-dollar industry. With Asean having a standard training program for nursing, health-care workers can seek employment within the region and elsewhere including the Middle East,” he said.--With AFP


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