Friday, April 4, 2008

Oversupply of nurses plagues RP

Gloria Esguerra Melencio
Asia News Network

The Philippines has oversupply of nurses this year as “world-class schools” in the country continue to produce thousands of nurses and some diploma mill schools churn out countless of practical nurses.

University of the Philippines College of Nursing Dean Dr. Josefina Tuazon and Philippine Nurses Association National President Leah Paquiz disclosed that the oversupply of nurses is fast becoming the country’s problem even as deployment abroad may be the “first choice” for these graduates.

Tuazon explained that due to the numerous nursing graduates this year at 67, 728, hospitals have to get volunteer nurses -- a lot better because they are not paid -- to accommodate the fresh graduates.

High number of graduates of Practical Nursing, a two-year course that focuses on the basics of nursing, aggravates the unemployment problem, Tuazon stressed.

“There is no local demand or positions for practical nurses within the Philippine Health Care Delivery system particularly in the light of the oversupply of nurses and subsequent unemployment of graduate nurses,” PNA’s Paquiz revealed in a written statement distributed to the media recently.

Schools offering Practical Nursing have mushroomed in the country overnight as they promise overseas employment that may await the graduates of this two-year non-degree course. The promise of work abroad, however, is not true as foreign employers prefer the four-year college-degree nurses who passed the Licensure Board Exams, Paquiz added.

The farthest thing that these practical nurses can reach is become nurse assistants, Tuazon noted.

The PNA likewise asked the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) of the Department of Education to put a stop to other schools’ offering the Practical Nursing program.

The PNA “strongly objects to the institution of the Practical Nursing program and vehemently rejects the proposed ladderization of the nursing curriculum,” the PNA statement said.

The PNA president also disclosed that United States, home to almost 250,000 Filipino nurses in the past years, stopped issuing work visas this year because the quota requirement for migrant workers has already been reached. There were 21,000 Filipino nurses seeking employment in the US in 2007.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration deployed a total of 13, 525 licensed nurses around the world in 2006. Of this number, 12, 263 are females and 1, 261 are males.

Saudi Arabia employed some 5,600 Filipino nurses, the highest so far of all Middle East countries in 2006.

Japan has 1.1 million Filipino nurses and licensed caregivers in 2005.

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