Good indicator

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

AMID signs the US is recovering from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the number of Filipino nurses seeking potential employment in America has started to bounce back.

A total of 2,952 Philippine-educated nurses took the US nurse licensure examination, or the Nclex, for the first time from January to September this year, up 10.89 percent from 2,662 in the same nine-month period in 2012.

The number of Filipino nurses taking the Nclex for the first time, excluding repeaters, is a good indicator as to how many of them are trying to enter the profession in America.

We are hopeful that as the American economy starts to pick up, the hiring of Filipino nurses by US hospitals, clinics and nursing homes will likewise spring back. 

Nclex refers to the (National Council) Licensure Examination administered by the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. (USNCSBN).

According to USNCSBN statistics, among foreign-educated nurses, Filipinos remain the most eager job-seekers in America.

Some 735 Indians, 469 Canadians, 358 South Koreans, and 348 Puerto Ricans also took the Nclex for the first time in the nine-month period under review.

In the whole of 2012, only 3,673 Filipino nurses took the Nclex for the first time, or just 17 percent of the record-high 21,499 that took the test at the height of the nursing boom in 2007.

Analysts previously predicted that the US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will also somewhat help revive America’s demand for foreign nurses.

Obamacare is expected to increase by some 10 percent the number of insured Americans seeking health care, thus firing up demand for foreign medical staff.

I also welcomed the Department of Health’s plan to “regularize” by next year the employment of 22,500 nurses taken in as contractual workers under a program meant to improve the delivery of health care services to poor and undeserved communities.

This will provide not only job assurance but also social security and other benefits to practitioners under the Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service, or the RN Heals Program.

The country’s oversupply of nurses has put downward pressure on their wages, but the government should help correct this by increasing employment.

A total of 35,493 new graduates as well as repeaters took the Philippine nurse licensure examination last Dec. 7 and 8, according to the Professional The passers will join the 16,219 and 16,908 new registered nurses that the country produced in January and July respectively, the commission said. --House Assistant Majority Leader and Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr., vice chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education, whose family also runs the University of Visayas

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 16, 2013.


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