PRC eyes clear rules on hiring temporary nurses | Inquirer News

PRC eyes clear rules on hiring temporary nurses

/ 05:40 AM June 22, 2023

File photo shows nurses working at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City. STORY: PRC eyes clear rules on hiring temporary nurses

QUALITY CARE | This file photo shows nurses working at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City. (File photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) will coordinate with other government agencies to formulate rules to accommodate Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa’s plan to address the lack of hospital staff through the hiring of nursing graduates who failed the mandatory board exam.

PRC Commissioner Jose Cueto Jr. said in a radio interview on Wednesday that they would work with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in drafting a “concept paper” defining the responsibilities, limitations and “safety measures,” among others, of unlicensed nurses who would be assigned to government hospitals.


“We had an agreement that on the concept of all-of-government approach, the DOH, DOLE, and PRC will discuss this issue and have a wide consultation for our plans,” Cueto said.


“We will work together to come up with a concept paper. What is most important is patient safety. Quality assurance, the kind of supervision and… guidance (for the unlicensed nurses) are also very important,” he added.

Temporary permits

According to Cueto, who is one of three commissioners heading the PRC, the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, or Republic Act No. 9173, does not allow the DOH secretary to give temporary work permits to nursing graduates who did not pass the licensure exam.

The special or temporary permit applies only to foreign licensed nurses, he pointed out.

Even under the Medical Act of 1959, or RA 2382, the DOH secretary can provide limited and special work permits to medicine graduates and students who have yet to pass their respective board exams only during a national emergency, Cueto added.

Under supervision

Based on his understanding of Herbosa’s plan, Cueto said that unlicensed nursing graduates would not be allowed to independently practice but would be placed “under the supervision of registered nurses.”

Shortly after he was sworn into office on June 6, Herbosa announced his plan to hire nursing graduates who failed the PRC-administered board exams as a “temporary measure” to avert a “crisis” due to the dwindling number of hospital nurses.


On Monday, he said that only nursing graduates with an “almost passing” score of 70 to 74 percent would qualify for the special license that would allow them to practice in an entry-level position under the supervision of board-certified nurses.


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TAGS: Department of Health, nursing board exam flunkers, Professional Regulation Commission, temporary nurses, Teodoro Herbosa

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