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Retake of Tests 3 and 5 of nursing exams pushed

Retake of Tests 3 and 5 of nursing exams pushed

The Philippine Star 10/01/2006

Those favoring a retake of the scandal-tainted June nursing licensure examination said yesterday they don’t want a full retake of the exams.

"We only want Tests 3 and 5 to be retaken, since only these portions (were) leaked out," former Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) president Ruth Padilla said. "We think this is the most logical thing to do."

A fact-finding body created by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) found that 20 percent of test 3 and 90 percent of test 5 were leaked out. These tests covered Medical Surgical Nursing and Psychiatric Mental Health, respectively.

President Arroyo earlier said she wants tests three and five of the exams retaken by all examinees — those who passed and those who flunked — to protect the integrity of the country’s nursing profession.

Padilla admitted that the PNA remains divided on the issue of a retake but added that she, her allies in the PNA and other nursing profession leaders from organizations like the Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing Inc. and the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Health Policy and Development Study, "welcome" the President’s decision.

"A retake may be a sacrifice or painful for the passers and their families but, if we look at it in the long run, they can get more benefits from (a retake)," she said.

The image of Filipino nurses in the international community was perceived to have been tainted by the scandal and some sectors believe that the country’s efforts to establish a testing center of the United States’ Council Licensure Examination in the Philippines was jeopardized.

Padilla said that when the retake becomes final, the June batch of examinees could retake the test in November, ahead of the scheduled December nursing licensure exam.

She added that the two examinations can also be held simultaneously, but added that a system must be put in place to separate the June and December batches of examinees.

Padilla said the PNA and other nursing profession leaders are willing to help the PRC prepare the questionnaires needed in the two tests.

Despite the President’s decision that the June licensure exam be retaken by passing examinees, Malacañang is playing it safe.

The Court of Appeals is now hearing a petition for a retake of the examinations filed last month by the faculty members of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) College of Nursing, the League of Concerned Nurses and the Binuklod na Samahan ng mga Student Nurses.

PRC Chairwoman Leonor Rosero earlier said the PRC cannot immediately act on Mrs. Arroyo’s directive because the government must await the CA decision on the petition.

"Let us wait for the final word from the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) and the PRC," Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said. "Sometimes, when we say something that does not jibe, the more speculation arises."

The PRC has been against a retake of the examinations and was named a respondent in the petition for a retake of the examination.

Ermita said he cannot say whether or not the PRC can still withdraw its opposition to a retake, which it filed before the CA as a respondent.

"Let us just wait for the CA decision," Ermita said. "It’s not proper for us to say anything that will somehow try to sway the court. Whether it’s a regional trial court, the CA or the Supreme Court, we have to respect a separate body."

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo already expressed her desire for a retake. "While we are firm on this stand, we are constrained from immediate action by pending cases before the (CA) — but we will not abandon our resolve to settle this issue once and for all under the rule of law and (in the) public interest."

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion said the "balancing of interest" was a primary consideration of government in ordering a retake of the nursing exam.

In an interview over Vice President Noli de Castro’s weekly radio program "Para sa Iyo Bayan," Brion said the government’s decision should be made to maintain the integrity of the nursing licensure examinations nd other professions.

"This is balancing of interest because the national interest is involved for the maintenance of the integrity of the licensure and health care," Brion said. "It is important that the integrity of the professional licensure examination be maintained here and abroad. Eyes are focused on us."

Brion said he is certain that the President will soon issue an executive order for a retake of the examinations, since the terms are already being finalized.

He is scheduled to meet with the PRC to present a copy of the executive order that will be followed by implementing rules and regulations after it is issued by Malacañang.

He added that the PRC is in the best position to determine when the nursing exam retake will be scheduled.

During a meeting with the President last week, Brion said the issues raised and emphasized by the President were: The nursing leakage, how to bring justice to the persons responsible for the leakage, how to maintain the integrity of the professional licensure examinations especially since the PRC administers at least 72 examinations for 43 professions each year.

Malacañang put on hold its issuance of an executive order for a retake of the nursing examinations pending the CA decision on the matter. — Sheila Crisostomo, Aurea Calica and Pia Lee-Brago




Either they passed or not the board exam--that is the basis of getting or not getting their licenses.

The perception is wrong because it is premised on an exam result that has the effect of cheating--but that is not the case. Here, the effect of leakage was removed, so the result is a list of passers who hurdled the exam fair and square.

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