Support nursing graduates — PNA

Unemployed nurses reach 400,000

BAGUIO CITY — There are thousands of jobless new nurses now that the head of the regional chapter of the Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) urges government to adopt a systematic plan to graduate health professionals according to the needs of the country.

Dean Ruth Thelma P. Tingda, president of the PNA – Cordillera and Region I, explained that the call to produce professional health workers based on the needs of the country is a component of their functional human resource development program.

Such plan is seen to address the over flowing number of professional nurses, who after passing the board have no jobs related to their profession.

Media reports showed that since 2007, there are 400,000 new nurses who have no jobs. If ever they have, it is not related to their profession.

Tingda also added that there should be strict regulations for the opening or operations of nursing schools.

National media reports also show that there are nursing schools whose passing rate in the nursing board ranges from zero and below 30 percent but are still open.


Nursing is claimed to be the most-enrolled and most-graduated course in the Philippines. There also is a proliferation of nursing schools.

Tingda cited Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) Baguio data that there are 3,290 nursing graduates who passed PRC exams in this city this year.

CHED-CAR data also show that from the 10,218 graduates in the school year 2006-2007, some 4,781 or 46.78 percent were from the medical courses dominated by the Nursing course.

Even enrollment data show that health-related courses – dominated by nursing – are the most-enrolled courses in the city as 27,015 (39.43 %) students from the city’s total 68,511 student population are enrolled in the said courses.

The same documents showed that the second most enrolled courses are Business Administration and related fields while those courses related to food production and natural resources conservation are slowly being closed.

International demand no more?

In 2004, the non-government organization Community Health Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera (Chestcore) cited reports that an estimated 85 % of employed Filipino nurses (approximately more than 150,000) are abroad. Chestcore said that low salaries led to their flight to other countries where salaries and benefits are higher.

Even doctors are taking up nursing to work abroad, Chestcore added. It cited DOH report that 2,000 doctors took up nursing in 2004 and the number grew to 6,000 doctors taking up nursing in 2005.

Notable too was that 80 percent of public health physicians have taken up or enrolled in nursing as the government budget for health is lower than two percent of the yearly annual budget, Chestcore cited.

Also, PNA said that there was an overproduction of nurses since 2007. Some nurses claim it is not easy to go abroad as they had to qualify and pass required examinations in the countries, and the applications entail bigger amount of money.

The PNA is now urging the government to regulate the schooling of health professionals and base their training according to the needs of the country.

The Philippines is the second exporter of doctors after India.

“If the overproduction of nurses and the flight of health workers abroad are not addressed, this will add further to the problem of the deteriorating health care system,” the health organizations pointed out. # Arthur L. Allad-iw(NorDis)

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