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CGFNS officials find recomputation of June 2006 board exam scores ‘unusual’

SPECIAL REPORT: Nursing leakage

CGFNS officials find recomputation of June 2006 board exam scores ‘unusual’

Nurses’ US jobs endangered

By Alfredo G. Rosario, Opinion Page Editor

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/sept/24/yehey/top_stories/20060924top1.html

Filipino nursing graduates who passed the leakage-tainted June 2006 licensure examination may not qualify for the examination of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)—and therefore lose the chance to work in the United States.

CGFNS officials in the Philippines, here to give CGFNS tests passing which is the basis for the CGFNS certificate that allows a foreign-graduate nurse to work in the US, while refusing to speak directly about the Philippine leakage scandal, told the broadcast media and The Manila Times interviewers that they would have to screen the June 2006 batch more rigorously than they normally do.

That is because the recomputing of test scores to solve the leakage problem has raised questions about the validity, reliability and credibility of the board exam results.

One official called the authorities’ response to the leakage scandal “unusual.”

Another CGFNS official said that in the United States the moment some question arises about the conduct of a board exam the only recourse is to have all the candidates retake it. “Questions about the competence and skill of the passing examinees cannot be allowed to hover above their heads.”

The guidelines for determining and reviewing a nurse’s credentials, knowledge, competence and skills require the CGFNS to make sure that the licenses of applicants for a CGFNS test—and certificate—are “valid, unencumbered and untainted.”

If the CGFNS applies its strict credential standards on the Filipino June 2006 licensure test passers, the only possible result is for them not to be allowed to take the test and therefore not get a certificate, because the exam results are tainted and the licenses given to passers are based on an “unusual” procedure [the recomputation of the weight of subject scores and the total grade].

Ms. Barbara Nichols, CGFNS executive officer, told The Manila Times in an interview that in case of a test leakage in the United States all examinees are required to retake the exam.

“The focus is on the integrity of the examination, so all takers, whether guilty or not, are bound to retake the test,” she said.

Ms. Nichols came at the head of a three-member team to conduct a CGFNS test in Manila and Cebu City on September 20. The other members of the team are Dr. Catherine Davis, director of Global Research and Test Administration, and John Ratigan, immigration consultant.

Over 1,000 nurses took the CFGNS test—500 in Manila and more than 500 in Cebu City.

More test sites

Secretary Dante Ang, chairman of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, met with the CFGNS group to discuss the problems of Filipino nurses who want to work in the US. Noting the small number of test takers, he asked the team to expand its testing operation in the Philippines by holding it more frequently and in more testing centers to include Baguio City and Dagupan City in Luzon, Iloilo City in the Visayas, and Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao.

Dr. Ang’s proposal is aimed at giving more nurses the opportunity to take the test and be eligible to work in the US. Ms. Nichols was receptive to the idea and said she would consider the request.

To work in the US—and earn at least 10 times more than here in the Philippines—is the cherished dream of thousands of Filipino nurses and many more thousands of nursing students.

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/sept/24/yehey/top_stories/20060924top1.html

VisaScreen

But unless they have passed the CGFNS test, they cannot enter the US to work. The US Embassy in Manila doesn’t issue a visa unless an applicant can show a VisaScreen certificate issued by the CGFNS.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the government’s regulation agency for overseas workers, refuses to process the papers of a nurse who is not eligible for the CGFNS.

The CGFNS has administered the exam in the Philippines since 1978. Over 300,000 Filipino nurses have taken the exam. The test is a component of a three-part process consisting of a creditable review, a test of nursing knowledge and a test of English-language proficiency.

The majority of the applicants who take the tests hold nursing baccalaureate degrees. A few test-takers are graduates of nursing diploma programs.

In the 2005 test results, 42 percent of all Philippine test-takers passed. In the International English-Language System subject 93.7 percent passed. One hundred nine took the test of English as a Foreign Language and 66.1-percent passed. Seventy sat for the Test of English for International Communication and all passed it.

Ms. Nichols said an average of 15,000 nurses takes the test each year in the Philippines. In addition, Filipino nurses take the exam in 15 other testing centers in countries where they are working, such as Kuwait, England and Jordan.

She explained that for the US government to issue a visa to nursing applicants, it must make sure that their educational standards are comparable to those in the US. Applicants are required to have a nursing license, pass a written and oral English test, hold a CGFNS VisaScreen certificate or pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), and have a job offer.

Since 1996 the CGFNS has been tasked to determine that foreign nursing graduates meet these requisites. The CGFNS VisaScreen program fulfills the requirements of the 1996 Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act.

US Embassy role

The immigration consultant, John Ratigan, explained that normally a US hospital hiring a Filipino nurse initiates the employment process by filing a petition with the US immigration and the Department of Labor. Once the petition is approved, the papers are sent to the US Embassy in Manila.

The US Embassy asks an applicant for her papers, including the VisaScreen certificate, passport, criminal and medical clearance certificates, and subjects her to an interview. When the embassy is satisfied with its own screening, it issues a work visa.

Ratigan said the successful applicant cannot work immediately as a regular nurse in a US hospital unless she has passed the NCLEX exam. She has to work in lower-category jobs with a corresponding lower salary.

I pointed out that this could be a potential source of conflict because a nurse screened by the POEA is made to believe she has to receive a full nurse’s salary and enjoy corresponding fringe benefits, including free housing.

Ratigan explained that the US law is clear that nobody can work as a regular nurse unless she passes the NCLEX. He suggested that in the drafting of work contracts, the actual job a nurse applicant has to do and the corresponding lower salary should be spelled out while she is waiting for her NCLEX eligibility.

Ms. Nichols said some recruiters are part of the problem, charging from $5,000 to $20,000 per nurse they recruit for a hospital. They may provide for the transportation fare of a candidate but they collect from their recruit once she is working and receiving her salary. In many cases, she said, they keep the nurse’s passport as a leverage for making her pay back her fare.

According to Dr. Davis, validity studies show consistently that a CGFNS test is a “strong predictor of success” on the NCLEX-RN. A study shows that applicants who pass the CGFNS test on first attempt had a 93 percent chance of passing the NCLEX.

The CGFNS and NCLEX are two different tests—the first to be administered by the CGFNS and the second by a particular state nursing board. The CGFNS facilitates the employment of foreign nurses in the US and the NCLEX determines whether a foreign nurse can work in a hospital.

Dr. Ang has been working on the inclusion of the Philippines as a venue for NCLEX for the convenience of nurses wishing to work in the US. Applicants may pass the NCLEX but are still required by US states to take the CGFNS exam, except California and Vermont.

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/sept/24/yehey/top_stories/20060924top1.html

Talaga naman si ANG at ang kanyang Manila Times, mahilig manakot! Well, kung BOBO ka, patakot ka at yaan mong tapakan ang karapatan mo!

#1, kung kailanagn mo ng VISA SCREEN, pwede kang hindi mag CGFNS, instead, mag NCLEX ka na lang at pwede yun substitute sa CGFNS to complete you requirements sa VISA SCREEN.

#2, walang sinabi ang CGFNS officials na hindi nila i-qualify ang june 2006 passers. Ang sabi nila, they would screen them more rigorously than they normally do. So what's scary about that? Eh di screen nila mabuti, DAPAT LANG at trabaho nila yun eh! Kaya nga visa SCREEN!

#3 "Dr. Ang has been working on the inclusion of the Philippines as a venue for NCLEX for the convenience of nurses wishing to work in the US.".... UTOT mo Dr. ANG! Kaya ka atat na magkaroon ng NCLEX dito, sigradong me NEGOSYO ka na naman!

#4 O, me nakaktakot ba sa column na to? WALA!

Di mo naman kelangan kumuha ng dalawang exam. If you passed NCLEX-RN you don't have to take CGFNS exam. Kailangan mo sa VISA SCREEN ang pagpasa ng nclexrn o cgfns exam. yung visa screen is under ng cgfns.taking both exam will be costly for you, since kukuha ka pa ng toefl, ielts, ek ek, etc. so if I were you, wag kayong makikinig sa mga sinasabi ng Manila times, or whoever na nanakot. gusto lang nilang manakot dahil pag hindi, mawawalan sila ng raket.korek di ba?

korek na korek!

mga taga-Uste lang kayang takutin ni Dr. Ang. hehe!

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