Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Abolish the PRC-Board of Nursing

Last week, I got hold of a memo written by a certain Donna Rae Richardson, Director of Government Affairs and Professional Stands of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) regarding the “questionable” licensing activities of nurses in the Philippines. Dated July 19, 2006, the said CGFNS memo was addressed to the U.S. State Board of Nursing and described the many scandals currently confronting the Philippine licensure system for nurses today. For the uninitiated, passing the exam administered by CGFNS is one of the requirements in qualifying for a nurses' visa in the States. CGFNS is alarmed over the three issues plaguing the country today, namely:

1.) adverse reports concerning the 599 nursing examinees from West Negros College accused of overloading and double duty. CGFNS said that although they received a copy of the PRC resolution dated May 11, 2006 allowing 429 of the said nurses to be registered, receive their IDs and take their oath as nurses, they will nonetheless "keep an eye out" for the WNC graduates.

2.) CGFNS also expressed alarm over the mass resignation of the CHED-Technical Committee on Nursing Education members last June 26, 2006 and the leakage in the 2006 Nursing Licensure Exam (NLE). Overall, CGFNS is concerned about the "commercialization" and declining quality of nursing education in the Philippines.

3.) Last, CGFNS also received reports from the Nursing and Midwifery Council regarding the fraudulent English proficiency scores in IELTS of some Filipino examinees.

The memo made the following conclusion: “CGFNS will follow these issues related to licensing and English proficiency examinations closely. As always CGFNS will review and enhance its own processes so that the state boards of nursing, educational institutions, employers and the Department of Homeland Security can be assured that internationally-educated nurses and other health professionals have met the standards set by CGFNS for the purposes of pre-licensure and/or immigration.”

Last June 7, 2006, I wrote in my Guardian column an article entitled “West Negros Nursing Graduates Blacklisted by CGFNS?” With the CGFNS memo, it seems that my worst fears have been confirmed. And after reports of the nursing exam leakage erupted in the media, investigators have unearthed more information demonstrating the seeming ineptness and corruption in the Board of Nursing of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the deep-seated competition among nursing schools and review centers. For example, investigators discovered that aside from West Negros College, the Philippine College of Health Sciences (PCHS) and a couple other colleges also offered “two-year nursing courses” for “second-coursers.” So the question is: how come only West Negros College nursing graduates were investigated by PRC? It appears now that West Negros College has been singled out for persecution. Incidentally, PCHS is owned by former Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) President George Cordero, who resigned in disgrace after the nursing exam leak controversy erupted in the news. Also, a PCHS nursing graduate by the name of Pamela Ortega has pointed to Cordero as the one who distributed the “set of papers” during their review class in the SM-Manila moviehouse last June 9. According to Ortega, Cordero told them that 100 questions from the “set of papers” would appear in the board exams on June 11 and 12. She also claimed that Cordero bragged to them that he paid P7 million for the “set of papers” and even bought plane tickets to Switzerland for two PRC-Board of Nursing members.

With the CGFNS report, it is clear that the international nursing community is now alerted of the current scandals in the Philippines. The 2006 NLE leakage scandal may very well endanger the careers of all Filipino nursing professionals. "Hindi na nga sila nakakatulong, nakakasama pa" is the common sentiment of legitimate board passers. By allowing it to happen, the PRC-Board of Nursing should definitely be abolished. The PRC has obviously failed its stated mandate of “securing for the nation a reliable, trustworthy and progressive system of developing professionals whose personal integrity and spiritual values are solid and respected, whose competencies are globally competitive, and whose commitment to serve the Filipino nation and the whole community is strong and steadfast.” Since the Philippines supply most of the foreign nurses in America and much of the world, it stands to reason that these international groups would agree to lend technical expertise and financial assistance to ensure the quality of the nursing profession in our country. A new Board of Nursing should be established composed of internationally-certified examiners to be recommended by CGFNS and other foreign nursing agencies. Let us also ask the help of CGFNS to assist us in administering the Nursing Licensure Exams (NLE). This is the only way for our country to redeem itself in the eyes of the international nursing community and regain its once lofty status as the main source of quality health care professionals overseas.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's always unfortunate that our county and our people are put into a spotlight.It's regretable that this things happen.Our nurses are the best in the world, maybe we should rethink our nursing curriculum.In the Philippines it will take you four to five years to complete the nursing course because of other irrelevant subjects that the students have to get.Nursing is specific skill set, we must fashion our curriculum in such a way that it would meet international standards.We should focus on only two things, and that is nursing itself and english.We have a bachelor degree in nursing but our graduates are not considered bachelor degree holders when they set foot on a foreign soil.Our four years of study is only equivalent to a two year technical course here in the U.S. This is not so fair but we are not doing something about it. Immigrants of other nationalities or Americans themselves have only to pass a two year course and a local state board in order for them to have even a higher pay grade than our B.S.N. Immigrants of course have to take the english proficiency test, but still the amount they spent in school here is way much less than from what our students have to endure.They have a double standard here, this is a reality and I cannot blame other schools in the Philippines for their adjustments.Our government should see this thing and should take actions. Immigrants in the U.S coming from other countries don't have the burden of taking cgfns yet they're still admiited as R.N. I cannot understand why the U.S. would make it so much harder for our graduates to qualify to work. Nurses have to pass multiple and redundant exams in order for them to be admitted.This has been going on for a long time and our government simply turn its back on this issue.

Iloilo City Boy said...

The reason why Americans make it harder for Filipino nurses to be admitted in the U.S. is because they view with suspicion any and all Philippine government documents, knowing fully well that anything can be "duplicated" in Recto.

Anonymous said...

I beg to disaree with your assertions or assumptions. The U.S. can easily check or crosschecked whatever document that an applicant presents to them, and believe me, they do check all the time.The Philippines agencies in charge of issuing such documents like P.R.C. are opening their database to this kind of inquiry, no nurses can go to the U.S. without them(U.S.) checking everything.There's a double standard being applied to us Filipinos but nobody, I mean nobody gives a shit.

Iloilo City Boy said...

That's exactly my point: the double standard you are saying stems from the fact that there seems to be a "presumption of irregularity" when it comes to RP docs, that's why US authorities try so hard to double check. I don't know if US authorities similarly subject, say the British or French documents under the same scrutiny. Of course, if you are really a qualified, skilled nurse this should be no cause of concern. But I know it's aggravating and time-costly.

Anonymous said...

No, you don't get what I mean, despite all of the checking and rechecking, then comes the redundant testing which are not applied to other immigrants who are already in the U.S.It's just futile if you have false documents, that's why it's not right to say that a Filipino attempts to submit such applications with docs from Recto.You are probably the dumbest guy in the world if you attempt to do so.

NurseReview.org said...

For those taking the December 2007 NLE Important Stuff To Read Before Taking December 2007 NLE Examination

December 2007 Exam Results will also be post at NurseReview.org. For those of you who want to get a copy of the nursing passers for Dec 2007, please leave your email address at http://philippinenurses.blogspot.com/2007/11/december-2007-nursing-board-exam.html

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering why it took almost a year for the prc to release our license... until now I still dont have my license... I passed the June 2007 NLE and still waiting. To top it all the employees there are not accommodating , as if "ikaw pa ang may utang sa ila." I think they should have a reshuffle, where the present employees will be assigned to Mindanao! How is that for a change!

Martin said...

Good Job! :)

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