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Filipino nurses in US seek end to visa retrogression

CEBU, Philippines - The Philippine Nurses Association of America assured Filipino nurses dreaming to work in the United States that talks are going on between nurse communities and senators in the US to include in their health care reform the end of visa retrogression.

This would hopefully open more doors for employment of Filipino nurses that would fill the 15 percent shortage in healthcare personnel in many parts of the US.

PNAA President Leo Felix Jurado, during the opening of the 7th PNAA International Conference in Cebu yesterday, admitted that there are no available visas for nurses who are planning to work in the US.

This as US implemented a Visa Retrogression where previously current dates on the quota bulletin go backwards and became unavailable.

As of December last year for applicants from the Philipines, visas shall be processed only through to August 2005.

Jurado said that they are constantly monitoring the development of the bill while clinging to their high hopes that US will soon adjust its bulletin to accommodate more nurses since the current retrogression also presents challenges to hospitals, nursing homes and health care employers who are confronted with worsening nursing shortage.

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 Jurado said that the retirement of RNs compounded by the increasing demand for health care services continue to create a hole in health care services of US.

While the problem of retrogression affects interested foreign nurses, PNAA is providing alternative jobs for Filipino nurses, who are not yet employed here.

PNAA is also coordinating closely with nursing schools and other institutions to increase the quality of nursing education that would in turn increase their competency and job qualification.

PNAA has also initiated a Memorandum of Understanding, to hire more Filipino nurses, with other countries other than US such as Canada.

The Philippines, nevertheless, remain the number one source of foreign nurses in the US and there are an estimated 85,000 in different states.

PNA Visayas President Parolita Mission, on the other hand, said that around only 50 percent of nursing graduates in the Visayas are successfully employed in the industry.

The rest go to other professions, most in the Business Outsource Processing, which they also encourage while the country could not employ them yet.

Mission said that nursing is about giving health care which they can share in whatever field they are. — Jessica Ann R. Pareja/NLQ   (FREEMAN NEWS)

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