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What Went Before: Glut of nursing graduates

/ 01:13 AM July 09, 2013

Health Secretary Enrique Ona, in a consultation in Baguio City, advised incoming college students in 2011 to stay out of nursing.

“If I have a daughter today, I would not let her take up nursing,” Ona said, adding that highly specialized courses in medical research and medical technology would be more appropriate if students wanted to pursue a career in health care.

Many nursing graduates are unemployed.


Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz advised unemployed nurses in the country to seek jobs in the booming business process outsourcing industry, which has an array of non-clinical but medical-related information outsourcing opportunities such as medical transcriptionists, billers and health care secretaries.

The latest data showed that with 176,646 enrolled students, nursing was the most popular in medical and allied discipline during the academic year 2011-2012. Nursing graduates during the previous academic year numbered 86,816.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) has ordered at least six schools in Southern Mindanao to stop offering nursing courses starting this academic year due to their graduates’ mediocre performance in recent nursing board examinations.

In March, Raul Alvarez Jr., CHEd regional director was quoted as saying that these schools, which he did not name, could not satisfy the 30-percent passing rate requirement set by CHEd Memorandum Order No. 14 Series of 2009.

The CHEd warned in 2010 that nursing schools with dismal board exam passing rates should shape up within the next three years or close shop.

In the same year, the CHEd released Memorandum Order No. 32, which ordered a moratorium on new programs in five courses, including nursing, citing the decline in the quality of graduates in these fields.

The other courses were business administration, teacher education, hotel and restaurant management, and information technology.

The moratorium applies only to schools planning on opening courses in the affected programs. It will not affect those that currently offer these courses.


Despite the increasing number of board examinees for nursing, the qualifying rate for nursing boards remains stagnant. In 2009, only 40.7 percent of 172,344 takers passed the nursing exams, lower than the 43.9 percent in 2008.—Inquirer Research

Sources: Inquirer Archives

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TAGS: Education, Enrique Ona, nursing, nursing graduates, nursing schools
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