At no point in time, the nursing profession has greatly rekindled new hopes for parents who have used much of their savings and other resources just to send their siblings to various nursing schools in the Philippines. Despite the low salary that a staff nurse has to get by the time she is employed in one of the private or government hospitals in the Philippines, many are wishing that someday they would make it abroad for a much higher salaries. But the hurdles aren’t easy before a student nurse can cross the finish line. After graduation, a lot more have to be done, not to mention the hefty expenses that are to be incurred for the nursing review and eventually the fees for the local board examination, usually administered by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).
After passing the board examination, the nurse has to take her oath and again, prepare for the foreign tests, if they intend to work in the United States. Two of these are the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) and the National Council for Licensure Examinations (NCLEX). At that time, when NCLEX was yet offered in the country, many nursing board passers have been limited to taking first their CGFNS exams in the country before venturing out to take the NCLEX test at designated host country abroad like Hong Kong, Guam, Saipan, and others. It is disheartening to note that in their desire to hurdle the test, many of the nurses have to spend so much money that includes airfare tickets, hotel accommodation and food, which they all have to shoulder while on hand to take the NCLEX examination abroad.
This is because CGFNS passers still have difficulties making it even if they employers to sponsor them to get through the U.S. mainland due to non-availability of H1B visas, which are the only category choice for nurses who are willing to work in hospitals or nursing home facilities in America. Until lately, EB type of visas for professionals and skilled workers were opened by the immigration service. Although there are some who have succeeded in coming over with tourist visas and eventually landed nursing jobs but still they are required to pass the NCLEX examination so that they can practice the profession without any hitches.
But the irony is that despite these hussles, many people are still hankering to send their children to nursing schools. For what? Of course, the answer to the question is always economics. Isn’t deplorable to know that professional Filipino nurses, who have spent hefty sums of money just to finish the course in four years, end up getting a measely salary during the start of their career? And this is the primary reason why many of them are eager to go abroad so that they can cope up what their parents spent for them while in school. This is also in preparation for another member of the family who will follow in her footsteps to take up the same course once she starts sending some foreign currencies back home.
Now, there are reports that the Philippine government is discussing plans to regulate the deployment of nurses abroad. Why? Haven’t they (regulators and legislators) thought for themselves how much money the parents of these nurses spent and here they come nailing them to carry the cross to Golgotha by stopping them from working abroad? This proposal is not only disheartening but a tangible violation of the nurses human rights to gain access to international opportunties to better their lives in a country that is sick with too much politics.
Unable to hold its frustrations over the negative news, no less than the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) has criticized the government for coming out with the impending plan to implement this form of another harassment accorded to those who will be big potential contributors to the sagging economy, in terms of huge foreign exchange remittances. It is hoped that the PNA will not stop lobbying for this blatant transgression on the rights of thousands of professional nurses in the Philippines, whose government officials have nothing to do but intimidate innocent people who are only after the welfare of their own families. If they believed that the mass exodus will create a vacuum in the quality of medical practice in the Philippines, why can’t they pass a bill that will increase the salaries and benefits of lowly paid nurses, rather than rein their noses on what to do with their lives?