Nurses' groups reject proposal to abolish board exams

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Nurses' groups reject proposal to abolish board exams
In this April 2020 photo, medical workers are seen screening patients for possible COVID-19 before admission at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Nurses’ groups opposed the idea of scrapping the licensure examination for nursing graduates as it may pose dangers to the health of the people.

This was after Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III questioned the need for licensure exams, especially for nursing and law, arguing that students have already taken enough tests before graduating.

“The lives of Filipinos, the health of the public are in the hands of health care professionals so we have to ensure they are competent enough and a board exam will measure what they learned in school and their readiness to serve in the profession,” Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) President Melbert Reyes said in an interview with dzMM “Teleradyo” Thursday.

Reyes said the PNA and the Philippine Board of Nursing “immediately rejected” the idea when Bello raised it in a meeting with them.

In a separate statement, the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) stressed that abolishing the licensure examination for nurses is “perilous for people’s health especially at this time of pandemic.”

“Unlike lawyers and engineers, nurses deal with health and lives of patients and communities where human error or omission is critical to human safety, prolonging life and survival,” FNU said.

Call for better condition, compensation

The government should look at the situation of nurses in the country instead of proposing to scrap licensure examination, Reyes said. Registered nurses in the country receive meager compensation and benefits, and face lack of job security.

While the FNU believes that licensure examination is not the sole barometer for quality of nursing education, it calls for a mechanism that will ensure and maintain the standards of healthcare workers.

“People deserve the quality health care and should not be compromised with lowering of standards by the government instead of having a political will to provide adequate, well-trained and well-compensated health professionals like nurses,” it said.

The Philippines is one of the world’s biggest sources of nurses. Last month, the government increased the number of healthcare workers allowed to go overseas to 6,500 annually.




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