Cordillera cops see spike in nurse graduates seeking PNP jobsBy Desiree Caluza
Inquirer Northern Luzon
BAGUIO CITY—The country will need to prepare for “police nurses” soon.
An official of the Cordillera police said authorities had observed an increase in the number of nursing graduates and licensed nurses applying for police work in the region.
Police have hired 43 of them, said Supt. Elmer Soria, deputy director for operations at Camp Bado Dangwa. He said the scarcity of jobs for nursing graduates had compelled many of them to seek new careers, even those normally pursued by criminology graduates.
And the medical community’s loss is the Philippine National Police’s (PNP’s) gain, he said.
“Hiring nursing graduates is an advantage to [the PNP] because they can do first aid treatment and they can be [reliable] during disasters,” Soria said.
He said police have two recruitment cycles per year, and in 2011, 106 out of 800 applicants turned out to be nursing graduates and registered nurses. Forty-three of them, mostly women, were hired, he said.
In the first half of 2012, the Cordillera police received 586 applications, and 124 of these applicants were nursing graduates.
“The problem is [the Cordillera police] has a quota for females. Those who passed and were not hired would apply again in the next recruitment phase,” Soria said.
Just like the rest of the applicants, who finished criminology courses, the nurses will have to pass a series of physical and neurological tests and tests in agility and reflexes before they are hired.
“Call them ‘police nurses.’ The hiring of nurses by the police force is an opportunity for [nursing graduates]. This is just OK. This is a welcome [innovation for their training because] nurses in the police force can help a lot,” said Menzie Kuengan, education supervisor of the Commission on Higher Education in the Cordillera.
Kuengan noted an oversupply of nurses in the Cordillera, where colleges and universities have been producing an average of 8,000 graduates annually since 2007. Not all of these graduates are employed, she said.
Dwindling job opportunities have also resulted in a drop in nursing school enrollment, Kuengan said. She said one university here used to accept up to 1,000 nursing students when overseas demand for Filipino nurses was at its peak. The same university now serves 400 nursing students.
Cordillera has 46 public and private nursing schools. “Nursing is not on the list of the top university courses for Cordillera students anymore. The top three courses are criminology, hotel and restaurant management, and business administration,” Kuengan said.
Aside from taking up a law enforcement career, other nurses have found work in call centers.