PH nurses urged: Apply to other countries, not just US
MANILA, Philippines – A Cebu lawmaker urged Filipino nurses to look for job opportunities in the United Kingdom and the Middle East as demand for nurses continues to slow down in the US.
“There is an oversupply of nurses in the US now. In fact, some 43% of fresh nursing graduates in America have not landed a job upon 18 months of receiving their license,” said Cebu Representative Gerald Anthonay Gullas Jr.
The vice chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education issued the statement Thursday, December 25, as he noted the increase in licensure applications to the US.
Gullas said most US hospitals and nursing homes are not hiring new staff. “For now, they are simply keeping their senior and highly experienced nurses until retirement,” he pointed out.
He added that nursing graduates will get better chances of getting jobs in the UK and the Middle East, where there is higher demand for nurses compared to the US.
A tenth of Filipinos – about 10 million of the country's population of 100 million – work abroad to send billions of pesos in remittance to their families in the Philippines, where decent jobs can be scarce in various parts of the country. Nursing schools proliferated in the Philippines when demand for the job soared in the US beginning late 90s.
Philippine schools continue to produce tens of thousands of new nurses every year, in spite of the dip in international demand for the job. Just this year, 22,202 new nursing licenses have been issued by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
A total of 3,253 Philippine-educated nurses took the US National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for the first time from January to September this year. It is 10% higher compared to the 2,952 Filipino nurses who took the same licensure exam for the first during the same period in 2013.
The same statistics show that Filipino nurses are among the most active job-seekers in the US. In the same timeframe, 677 Indians, 489 Canadians, 437 Puerto Ricans, and 330 South Koreans took the NCLEX for the first time.
The NCLEX, administered by the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc, is a requirement for nurses working in the US.
Gullas said, however, that many Filipino nurses also take the NCLEX as an additional credential when they apply for jobs elsewhere.
Gullas said he is pushing for the restoration to Salary Grade (SG) 15 – the equivalent of P24,887 – the entry-level basic monthly pay of public nurses to encourage them to stay in the country. Entry level nurses currently get P18,549, he said. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com