Over 6K nursing grads take US licensure exam

File photo
File photo

A TOTAL of 6,879 nursing graduates from the Philippines took the US licensure examination for the first time between January and March 2024 in the hope of obtaining gainful employment in America, according to a lawmaker.

“We expect a large number of Philippine nursing graduates to persist in pursuing their career aspirations in America and other foreign labor markets as long as we continue to underpay them here at home,” said Quezon City. Rep. Marvin Rillo, vice chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education.

In the whole 12 months of 2023, a record-breaking 36,410 nursing graduates from the Philippines took the US licensure test for the first time, without counting repeaters, according to Rillo.

Citing data from the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc., Rillo said a total of 1,486 nursing graduates from India also took the US licensure test for the first time between January and March, along with 744 graduates from Kenya, 632 from Nepal and 613 from Ghana.

The Quezon City lawmaker issued his statement on Sunday, May 12, which coincides with International Nurses Day. The date is the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, a pioneering figure in the field of nursing during the 19th century.

“Congress must substantially upgrade the starting base pay of our nurses now if we want to retain at least some of them for our public hospitals,” Rillo said.

Proposed law

The lawmaker passed House Bill 5276, which seeks to boost by 75 percent the starting base pay of public nurses.

Under Rillo’s proposed law, the starting pay of government nurses will be bumped up to P63,997 per month from the current rate of P36,619.

Sen. Sonny Angara has also filed Senate Bill 638, which proposes to raise the entry-level pay of public nurses to P51,357 per month.

Based on previous reports, up to 4,500 items for nurses in public hospitals run by the Department of Health remain unfilled owing to the lack of takers.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in its State of the World’s Nursing 2020 report, previously projected that “without action, there will be a shortfall of 4.6 million nurses worldwide by 2030.”

“The shortfall of nurses in the Philippines is expected to be 249,843 by 2030, unless greater investment is made now to retain them in the local health sector,” the WHO report said. / KAL, PR

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