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Experts cite need to ease export of nurses

Experts cite need to ease export of nurses
Jun Ilagan, Sep 13, 2006

“We are not trying to restrict or control the professional growth and future of our nurses but all we are saying is, then and now, there has been a real need to rationalize the export of nurses,” Dean Josefina Tuazon of the University of the Philippines College of Nursing told Philippine News, in reaction to criticisms hurled against her call for a stoppage of the recruitment of new nursing graduates.

The head of one of the Philippines’ leading nursing schools made the plea as she rallied nursing colleagues in the Philippines and abroad to help repair the damage caused to new graduates by the nursing board exams leakage last June.

At the same time, Tuazon called for more equitable and sustainable recruitment and deployment policies for nurses.

”When I said new graduates, I was not singling out the 2006 batch. I was referring to nurses who need to acquire specialized skills and clinical experience that would make them more competitive overseas,” she continued.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has issued a directive to prosecute the perpetrators of the leakage to the full extent of the law in order to protect the worldwide image of competence of Filipino nurses.

The early resolution of the scam and institution of measures to safeguard the integrity of future nursing licensure examinations are meant, in turn, to ensure the continued overseas hiring by the thousands of Filipino nurses every year. Damage-control measures nevertheless did not stop the U.S.-based National Council of State Boards of Nursing from suspending the country’s bid for accreditation as testing site of the U.S. National Commission on Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for nurses — a direct consequence of the scandal. There have also been unconfirmed reports that the state of Arkansas will not be hiring the examinees of the breached June 2006 licensure tests.

“The leakage issue is a wake-up call and an opportunity for sweeping reforms not only in the administration of the licensure exams but, more important, in the areas of nursing education and training,” Dean Tuazon pointed out. “Ultimately, there is a need to re-evaluate the entire overseas employment program for our nurses as it impacts the ailing healthcare sector of the country itself.”

Philippine and international health officials have in the last decade been trying to find an answer to a dreaded question: How much longer could the country’s healthcare sector survive the exodus of nurses? More specifically, they want to know how many more nurses and doctors-turned-nurses does the Philippines have to lose to industrialized countries before it sees the total crash of the country’s healthcare system.

Estimates as to the number of nurses leaving the country vary. One Philippine newspaper early this year quoted an unnamed study, which said over 100,000 nurses and former doctors have left and landed overseas jobs since 1996. The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines reported last August 6 that in the last 10 years, the United States alone has absorbed some 48,000 registered nurses.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which placed its estimates at 15,000 Filipino nurses leaving the country annually, warned last year that the Philippines would continue to lose its medical professionals unless wide-ranging solutions are drawn up. WHO country representative Jean Marc Olive was quoted as saying that in the next 15 years, the United States will be needing around one million nurses, and this would attract the local professionals.

But beyond the variation and inaccuracies in figures lie the specter of a completely deteriorated quality of health care in the Philippines. In a February 2005 interview with Michael Sullivan of the Washington, D.C.-based National Public Radio (NPR), Jaime Galvez Tan, executive director of the (Philippine) National Health Institute lamented that the exodus of nurses and doctors translates to the severest brain drain ever to hit the Philippines.

“The Philippines is now seriously understaffed with healthcare professionals,” Dr. Tan said. “The Health Department has had to shut down many rural and district hospitals because of the lack of doctors and nurses. This is no longer just brain drain, but a severe case of brain hemorrhage.”

In the same NPR interview program, Rita Villanueva Tamse, deputy director for nursing of the Philippine General Hospital noted that what the country has been relinquishing to affluent nations are the best-trained, most experienced nurses.

“These are not general ward nurses, but intensive care and operating room nurses and other highly-specialized and skilled nursing professionals,” Tamse said.

Dr. Tan issued a white paper last year, ‘The National Nursing Crisis: 7 Strategic Solutions,’ where he emphasized the need for the Philippine government to initiate high-level bilateral negotiations with countries importing Filipino nurses and to forge a “partnership” with them.

“The current approach to the importation of Filipino nurses has been lopsided and advantageous only to the host countries while the Philippines continues to wallow in poverty, underdevelopment, and inadequate health care,” he said. To correct this, he proposed the entitlement of the Philippines to a package of assistance from the importing countries that would ensure the continuous training of globally-competitive nurses, upgrading of nursing education, and the regular production and supply of nurses for its own healthcare system.

Of the seven measures Dr. Tan put forward to help address the nursing crisis, the institution of a National Health Service Act and the expansion of nursing residency and nurse practitioner training programs best capture the essence of Dean Tuazon’s urging to red- light hiring of new nursing graduates.

The proposed Act is not new and has been, in fact, shot down time and again by critics who felt the requirement for nurses to serve the country first for a number of years before venturing overseas is an infringement on individual rights. During the in-service period, on the other hand, the new nurses would be able to take up residency training in nursing specialties such as intensive care, operating room, emergency, psychiatric, neonatal care, or geriatric nursing.

FYI, WE ARE NOT NAIVE. This was not the 1st time that the Philippines was denied of hosting the NCLEX.
PLEASE....Do not use 2006 Nsg Licensure Exam leakage issue to cover up for the shortcomings of the Commission - headed by this conceited & dim-witted Chinese Man - who had the guts to call 2006 Boardpassers "Incompetent cheats" when he himself has lots of Estafa cases against some people & do not even posess a License to call himself a professional.
For shallow minded people like you, Dante Ang & other UST Faculty - who insists on saying that "YOU WANTED TO PROTECT the integrity of the profession you love," I dare you now - Why not accept the offer to become a member of the PRC's BON?" Is it bec you do not believe in what the PRC did on the scandal or YOU HAVE NO CAPABILITIES at all to sit & become one of the members of the BON?

.. in addition to the 1st post, Tuazon through her suggestions & "distasteful" actions, is indeed the most unprofessional & incompetent nurse we have ever heard

”When I said new graduates, I was not singling out the 2006 batch. I was referring to nurses who need to acquire specialized skills and clinical experience that would make them more competitive overseas,” ..... well Mrs. Tuazon, if you cannot write well then you definitely can't speak well. If you are careless with your words, it translates to your personality as well. In the few words you have published, your competency & professionalism are all in a cloud of doubt, especially coming from the dean of what you call "a reputable college". Your a total disgrace of the nursing profession!

Ganito yan, Mrs. Tuazon, batay sa mga tunay na pangyayari.

Kahit magtrabaho muna dito ng 2 years at may local experience na, pagdating sa US ay mababa pa rin na posisyon ang bagsak nila dahil ang gusto doon ay local experience sa US, hindi sa Pilipinas.

May batch ng fresh nurses na nagpunta sa US. For two years under their entry contracts, sa small hospitals lang at nursing homes pa nga yung iba. After earning 2 years local experience sa US, namili na sila ng bigger hospitals sa ibang states at Ok at happy naman sila, walang problema.

In other words, hindi naman tanga yung nasa US na ilalagay kaagad sila sa delikadong trabaho. They will have to grow first in their profession before they are given bigger responsibilities--at generally kaya naman ng mga Filipino nurses.

Bago i-restrict ang export ng nurses, baka mabuti tingnan ni Mrs. Tuazon yung bagong post na article on "RESTRICTION ON NURSES GOING ABROAD...."

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