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New nursing grads get jobs in US, UAE, UK, Australia

New nursing grads get jobs in US, UAE, UK, Australia

By Christian V. Esguerra
Last updated 05:20am (Mla time) 11/03/2006

Published on page A18 of the November 3, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
AFTER months of delay, passers of the leak-tainted June 2006 nursing licensure exams are beginning to move on.

Some 8,000 have already taken their professional oath and more are expected to report to the Professional Regulation Commission office to do the same after the Court of Appeals ruled that successful examinees who were not affected by the reported test leak in Manila and Baguio City may go ahead and get their licenses to practice.

Among 20 new nurses monitored by the Professional Regulation Commission’s Board of Nursing (BON), at least four of them had already passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and are set to join four compatriots now employed in hospitals in the United States.

Ten more June passers are working in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, while others have been hired in Australia and the United Kingdom, according to Eufemia Octaviano, who resigned as BON chair together with four other board members in the aftermath of the nursing exam scandal.
“We’re happy that they have moved on,” Octaviano told the Inquirer yesterday.

The newly appointed BON chair, Carmencita Abaquin, and acting members Leonila Faire, Betty Merritt, Perla Go and Marco Antonio Sto. Tomas are set to take their oath and officially replace Octaviano’s scandal-tainted board today.

The BON is directly responsible for preparing the test questions for the twice-yearly board exams.

Two members of the outgoing board, Anesia Dionisio and Virginia Madeja, are facing criminal and administrative charges for the alleged leak that tossed the future careers of thousands of nursing school graduates into virtual limbo.

The scandal led to four months of uncertainty as officials flip-flopped on whether the examinees should retake the exam. Recriminations among nursing student organizations and government officials erupted. Finally, the Court of Appeals decided on a “selective retake” covering only those examinees in the areas and categories where the leak reportedly occurred.

Octaviano is aware that the controversy is far from over. The scandal cast a shadow over all batch 2006 nurses.

On her own, she said she had tried to calm worried new nurses by telling them, “You are the only ones who can prove your critics wrong. Prove to them and to yourself that you are competent nurses.”

The new nurses, she added, still had to pass more examinations given by individual hospitals for local employment and qualifying exams for foreign employment.

Meanwhile, a militant health workers’ group said yesterday that the recent revamp in the Board of Nursing could only result in “cosmetic” changes in the nursing sector.

In a statement to media, the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) said all officials of the Professional Regulation Commission and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) should also have been replaced.

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