House bill would raise PH nursing standards
The House committee on appropriations has approved a bill to strengthen the nursing profession by raising its standards.
Committee chair and Davao Rep. Isidro T. Ungab said they had passed for plenary debate a substitute bill establishing a “Comprehensive Nursing Law” establishing a more stable foundation for the growth of the nursing profession.
Ungab said the bill would amend Republic Act No. 9173 or the “Philippine Nursing Act of 2002.”
Deputy Speaker Carlos M. Padilla, one of the bill’s proponents, said there was a need to strengthen the Nursing Board in view of the exponential growth in the number of nursing graduates to boost their protection and enhance their welfare.
But while the supply of nurses continued to grow, the Department of Health has noted that the demand for Filipino nurses overseas has been declining the past several years.
200K nurses still jobless
Former Health Secretary Enrique Ona had earlier revealed there were roughly 200,000 nurses who were still jobless.
Under the bill, a seven-member Professional Regulatory Board of Nursing would be established to supervise and regulate the profession.
Its mandates are to ensure the fair and proper conduct of the annual Philippine Nurse Licensure Exam (PNLE); take over the issuance or revocation of nursing certificates, and continuously monitor and enforce the safety and quality standards in the profession.
Ungab said the board members would be appointed by the President based on recommendations from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). Each member should be a natural-born Filipino and should have been a Philippine resident for at least five consecutive years prior to his or her appointment. The board chair would serve for only one year without reelection.
Board members would also be scrutinized prior to appointment. They should be nurses themselves and holders of valid and updated certificates of registration and current professional identification cards; must have a master’s degree in nursing and preferably a doctorate degree conferred by a university duly recognized by the government; must have at least 10 years continuous nursing practice prior to appointment, and must be of good moral character and not been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.
More rigorous qualifications
All nursing exam takers would be required to take the board within three years after graduation.
The nursing board exams would be tightened with more rigorous qualifications for admission and a minimum passing rate of 75 percent for all competencies in the tests.
The board would also be empowered to demand additional educational requirements for different levels of the nursing practice to ensure competitiveness and provide a better environment in its practice.
The board would also be tasked to maintain efficient, ethico-moral, technical and professional standards of nursing for the common good.
The bill would provide funding for the development of the nursing profession.
Aside from Padilla, the main authors of the bill were Ang Nars party-list Rep. Leah S. Paquiz, Leyte Rep. Andres D. Salvacion Jr., Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez and Abamin party-list Rep. Maximo B. Rodriguez Jr.
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