Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero has expressed concern over CHED’s plan to add another year to the nursing education.
“I am against adding another year for nursing, or for any other course,” the feisty senator said in a press statement a few days back. “Our nurses are being praised all over the world. Why in the world does CHED want to change what is not broken?” he asked.
Escudero said the CHED should instead weed out diploma mills that have proliferated due to the increase in the number of students wanting to take up nursing. He also called for stricter supervision of nursing review centers.
Prior to this, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations has already expressed their opinion against the CHED’s plan. Escudero said that making nursing a five-year course would mean an additional financial burden to parents and students.
Based on current figures, each nursing student needs about P100,000 annually for tuition fees plus textbooks, excluding review courses. Adding another year to the nursing course will make it more expensive to the parents that set aside a budget for the education of their children to the detriment of other basic family needs such as food and buying a new home.
Several concerned groups have been asking CHED to look closely into the review and control of nursing schools operating in the Philippines particularly those schools without proper training facilities and tie ups with local hospitals to train their graduates. This came after the oversupply issue on Filipino nurses raised concerns for more production.
CHED was quick to react that the commission cannot just close down a school just because it does not have connections with local hopsitals needed to train the future nurses. However, CHED realizes that indeed a lot of nursing schools have been performing below expectations and metrics set by the commission. CHED promised to act on these schools immediately.
In the meantime, thousands of board passers who studied from those ill-connected schools have no experience at all in the hospital environment making them inadmissible to foreign job opportunities. And for those lucky nurses who are able to get employment appears to have lack of experience in specialized fields like ICU, medical surgery, nicu, emergency, dialysis and cardiac care that are the most sought-after skills needed by foreign hospitals.
This problem will continue to grow if CHED will not act on it quickly.
COMMISSION on Higher Education (Ched) chairman Emmanuel Angeles denounced proposals imposing a ceiling on the number of college students that would like to take up nursing in an effort to put a halt on the oversupply of nurses in the Philippines.
CHED cited the that setting a limit to the number of enrollees to be accepted in the nursing schools all over the country will mean a violation of the basic human right to choose the education the students want to pursue.
About 470 nursing schools proliferate in the country with an annual enrolment of nearly 100,000. Only a handful of these schools are considered excellent by CHED with an annual passing rate of 90 percent. Last year, 64.909 nursing hopefuls took the board and eventually 31,000 of them passed.
CHED said that the only way they can limit the oversupply is to limit the nursing schools providing nursing courses. The most valid basis of barring a school from conducting nursing courses are lack of proper facility and incompetence of faculty members. However, we are yet to see these control measures being implemented in the school system.
With many jobless nurses now in the Philippines, the question roams about “who will take care of improving the hiring and job opportunities of Filipino Nurses abroad?”. Is it solely the responsibility of the Philippine government to the Pinoy nurses as it is to the Filipino people? Or is it something that local educational system and the Filipino families have to take care of?
We have read a lot from the news that a lot of recruiters now are scrambling to take advantage of this oversupply of nurses situation in the Philippines. Some recruiters promised to solve the situation by opening up new trainings, hiring and job opportunities abroad through them. With this, we should be worried that illegal recruiters may begin to proliferate in the nursing profession.
More often than not, the governance of a profession is to blame in this situation. Many believed that the nursing profession is in a crisis right now and it needs government intervention. If you look deeply into the root cause of the problem, the local nursing supply and demand has something to do with it as well.
First and foremost, nursing schools should stop accepting more nursing students into the pipeline or at least control the entrants. CHED has to have a hand on this. Maybe PNA should support it as well. CHED should make an assessment of the oversupply nationwide and put a halt for more production of nurses. If the government is not winning the frontlines for nursing demands abroad (like the US, UK and Canada), then we should take care of the local scene.
Second, parents should start diverting their kids to other courses. Nursing is not as lucrative as before. Parents have to guide their kids to the right careers or profession that fits them. Career decisions should not be about money anymore.
And third, if you are a student in nursing or planning to be one someday, be doubly sure you want to be in this field or profession. If you are someone who, like many, had been forced or swayed to be in this profession against their will, then think again and decide what is best for yourself. Talk to your parents and arrange for a shift in career.
With oversupply of nurses and no demand, no one will surely make money. In the family that nurtures a student to become a nurse someday, disappointments and frustration will surface later. Without job opportunities for your the new nurse in the family, you end up losing anyway. There are other more lucrative professions and careers (like in IT) that have not been tapped still by many Filipino students.
Hopefully, the hiring and job opportunities for Pinoy nurses will improve in the near term. The Philippine government should be more agressive in building ties and relations to potential employers abroad. If not, then we, the kith and kins of Filipino nurses, should urge the government to do something drastic and immediate. And we should do our part as well in solving this employment crisis.