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Senate to tackle nursing board scandal Wednesday (2nd UPDATE)

Senate to tackle nursing board scandal Wednesday
Grads protest suggestions to retake

(2ND UPDATE) TO RETAKE or not to retake. That’s the question Senate has to take up at Wednesday’s hearing on the alleged leak in the 2006 nursing licensure examination, a senator said.
But over at the Philippine Regulations Commission (PRC), hundreds of the examinees staged a rally to protest proposals they retake the exam, while others held their own mass action to favor the idea.
Senator Rodolfo Biazon, head of the Senate committee on civil service and government reorganization, said the hearing, which will “assess who caused the leak,” is open to the public.
“Those who took the exam are welcome to attend the Senate hearing so that they can witness and participate in the resolution of this problem,” he said.
A total of 42,006 nursing graduates took the board examinations on June 11 and 12. Forty-two percent or 17,871 of the examinees passed.

Accusations of test leakages surfaced after an examinee complained that other board takers had admitted to obtaining copy of the answers three days before the licensure examinations.
Senator Richard Gordon called for a retake of the to “establish the ‘credibility and integrity’ of Filipino nurses and to punish those responsible for the alleged leakage in examination questions.”
“If we pass everyone, we fail everyone,” said Gordon.

Gordon said that as long as the issue is not resolved, “it will continue to harm the nursing profession in the Philippines, especially at a time when hundreds of Filipinos are enrolling in nursing schools in expectation of employment abroad.”

“Even the innocent -- those who passed the tests without cheating -- would suffer,” he said.
Quashing the results would show the world “how serious we are in establishing the integrity and credibility of our nurses, specially those from this batch of examinees. This is the best way for our country,” Gordon added.

Dr. Fe Marilyn Lorenzo, director for the Institute for Health Development Studies at the National Institute for Health, earlier disclosed that three Philippine hospitals and American employers have advised the Philippine Nurses Association they would not hire nurses who took the June nursing examinations.

At the same time, Gordon said review centers should be strictly regulated by the government.
“The conduct of nursing review classes has proven to be such a profitable business venture yet it remains unregulated,” Gordon said. “Only nursing schools should be allowed to operate review centers and they should regularly be publishing their passing rates.”
At the PRC rally, Andrea Enriquez, a nursing graduate from the Philippine Women’s University, said those who attended the rally came from her school, the United Doctors Medical Center, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasig and Manila Doctors Hospital College.

"We are all for the investigation and speedy resolution of the case, but we believe that retaking the exams is not the solution to the problem," Enriquez told the Inquirer on the sidelines of the protest.
Enriquez said members of the Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing and officials of the PRC were trying to decide whether or not to give another examination for those who took the June test.

She added that a majority of the deans were pushing for them to take the exams all over again, which Enriquez said she found objectionable.
But not all prospective nurses agreed with Enriquez and her group.
"Retaking the examinations would cleanse our batch's negative image as cheaters," said a nursing graduate who requested anonymity.

Margaux Ortiz, Inquirer


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