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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Practical nursing barely meets US market demand

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By Cris Evert Lato
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 08:17:00 09/13/2008

Practical nursing (PN) schools in Cebu and around the country have to deal with criticism from the Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) that their course represents a “shorcut” to green cards and overseas jobs.

Jose Jake Marques, president of the Philippine Paramedical and Technical School Cebu, Inc. (PPTS Cebu), dispelled these claims saying there are different levels of competitiveness under the articulation program of the United States in providing health care services.

Marques said practical nursing is one of four levels. The other three are for certified nursing aides (CNA), applied science in nursing (ASN-RN) and registered nursing (RN).

“It is so easy to make a difficult curriculum so it’s expensive but the important thing is to address competitiveness in every level,” said Marques, who is also vice president of American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines - Cebu chapter.

The PNA, an umbrella organization of various nursing groups in the country, earlier said that PN schools only contribute to the dilemma of job availability for registered nurses.
But Marques said PN schools like PPTS give people the chance to acquire a basic nursing education without paying the high tuition common in a four-year course.

In PPTS, a student can finish a PN course in 12 to 15 months.

“Even if you stop after two years due to financial reasons, you will still have a certificate which you can use to apply for a state board in the US. The standards we follow is that of Louisana,” he told .

Marques said the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) can be taken not only by registered nurses, but also by practical nurses.

The PNA opposed the institutionalization of PN in the country and its insertion by the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) through a ladderization of the nursing curriculum.

The organization also said that there is no local demand or specific job positions in the Philippine health care delivery system for practical nurses.

It likewise noted that there is no licensure for practical nurses provided in Republic Act 9173 or Philippine Nursing Act to provide legal basis for the “institution of practical nursing.”

Despite this, Marques said this did not stop PN schools accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) from pushing for the ladderization of PN and ASN-RN.

“Laddering these courses would mean that PN graduates will have the opportunity to proceed to BS Nursing any time,” he said.

The PPTS and Salazar College of Science and Institute of Technology (SCSIT) signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) on the ladderization program last September 5 with Ched and Tesda officials.

Marques said around 50,000 immigrant visa were issued by the United States to foreign nurses of which 60 percent or 30,000 went to the Philippines. However, only 6,000 Filipino nurses left.

“That is because the other visas are given to the family members of the nurse. When nurses apply for visas in the US, they’re given green cards which allow them to bring their families,” he said.

Marques said the US is adopting this practice so Filipino nurses won't have to worry about their families back in the country.

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