THE high demand of Filipino nurses abroad is “good news,” said Commission on Higher Education (Ched) chairperson Prospero de Vera III, noting that the Philippines is already taking “concrete” measures to address the shortage of healthcare workers in the country.
In a press conference in Malacañang on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, De Vera said the high demand of Filipino nurses abroad indicates the quality of education in the country.
“The fact that our nurses are in demand abroad is actually good news because that means we produce world-class nurses. I think we should be
worried if our professionals are not acceptable abroad,” De Vera said.
"That means our educational system is not good. So it's a good sign, we just have to manage it better by producing more nurses," he added.
De Vera said increasing the salary of nurses in the country alone will not solve the lack of nurses in the country, noting there should also be an effort to produce more nursing graduates.
“There should be an effort to reskill the existing ones and see how many of those who fail the licensure tests can be assisted to pass it,” he said.
De Vera vowed that Ched will particularly come up with long term, medium-term and immediate actions that can be done to address the shortage of Filipino nurses.
Earlier, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that due to higher pay, the country’s nurses opt to work abroad instead of serving in the country.
He ordered Ched and the Department of Health (DOH) to look into ways to make them stay in the country amid the shortage of nurses in the Philippines.
Earlier, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa said they are looking into hiring nursing graduates who have yet to pass the board exam as nursing aides to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in the country.
Meanwhile, De Vera said they have opened six medical programs in public universities in the country during Marcos’ first year in office.
He said there are now 18 medical schools in state universities and colleges where students can get scholarships for their medical education and they will serve in underserved areas after they graduate.
De Vera said these medical schools offer scholarships with their state-of-the-art equipment to produce world-class doctors who will serve the country’s underserved areas.
“Out of the 18, the original number was eight. Under the (former President Rodrigo) Duterte administration, four were produced or four programs were opened in five years; under the Marcos administration, six medical programs were opened in one year. So we really presented those where there was a significant difference,” he said.
Part of Ched’s accomplishment report during Marcos’ first year in office were focus on six areas with verifiable and measurable success indicators such as Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education; Ched’s achievement in compliance to the European Maritime Safety Agency; achievements in addressing the nursing education issue; expanding medical education to students; Ched’s niche programs particularly on science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and internationalization of Philippine higher education. (SunStar Philippines)