Nurses up in arms vs DOLE's suggestion to scrap licensure exams | Inquirer News
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Nurses up in arms vs DOLE’s suggestion to scrap licensure exams

/ 12:33 PM July 08, 2021
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APPEAL In this photo taken during National Nurses Week in October last year, nurses call on the government to look into their plight as they continue to man the front lines of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. —RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) on Thursday opposed the suggestion to abolish the licensure examinations for nurses as a means of assessing their competencies before they become full-fledged health professionals.

Speaking over Teleradyo, PNA President Melbert Reyes said that rather than removing the competency exams, government should instead focus on the nurses’ situation amid the pandemic.

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Reyes claimed that licensure exams are being used as a “check and balance” mechanism of nursing schools to gauge if their education system is at par with standards.

“Kailangan makita natin at ma-asses natin through board exam ang competencies kaya nga po di po siguro dapat na tanggalin or i-(scrap) yung board exam lalo na dito sa mga health professional dahil buhay po ang hinahawakan natin,” Reyes said.

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(We need to see and assess through board exams the competencies of nurses which is why we should not remove or scrap the board exams especially for health professionals because lives are at stake.)

“Yung proposal po na ‘yan mahirap intindihin. We respect his opinion, baka may reason siya, but then we disagreed immediately kasi sa health professionals po kelangan po natin na i-ensure yung public na our graduates are competent enough to do their duty and responsibilities,” he added.

(The proposal is hard to understand. We respect his opinion, he might have a reason but then we disagreed immediately because for health professionals, we need to ensure the public that our graduates are competent enough to do their duty and responsibilities.)

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III questioned the need for the professional tests and said that he will “probably consider” recommending the removal of the exams.

The secretary later on clarified that he was not proposing to scrap the tests but only urging concerned agencies to study to do away with this requirement.

“Ang sabi niya na lang pag aralan ng PRC (Professional Regulation Commission). Para po sa amin ang dapat pag aralan ay yung kalagayan ng nurses dito sa Pilipinas,” Reyes said.

(He said the PRC should study the proposal. For us, what we need to study is the situation of the nurses in the Philippines.)

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“Kung hindi man sila papasa ng board exams, gawan natin ng isang structure na kung saan pwede nating i-employ sila ng may maayos na sweldo para naman maibalik yung kanilang investment dun sa kanilang nursing course,” he added.

(If they are unable to pass the board exams, let us make a structure where we can still employ them with proper salaries so that their investment on their nursing course could be returned.)

Only around 35 to 50 percent of board takers pass the professional exam, Reyes said. — Faith Yuen Wei Ragasa, trainee

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TAGS: board exams, Department of Labor and Employment, Melbert Reyes, nurses, Philippine Nurses Association, Silvestre Bello III
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