Nursing exam flunkers may be credited as ‘practical nurses’

By Jerome Aning
Last updated 07:03pm (Mla time) 07/24/2007

MANILA, Philippines — With only about half of the 78,000 nursing examinees projected to pass, the Department of Labor and Employment is formulating a new policy to allow the “flunkers” in the state-administered nursing licensure examinees last June to continue practicing their profession as “practical nurses.”


Labor Secretary Arturo Brion said the department was expecting only about 40,000 of the 78,000 examinees — including the re-takers of the leakage-marred 2006 exam — to pass the test.


“We’re anticipating that many of them (flunkers) will do re-take so we think that one fall-back position is to have them licensed as practical nurses. This is assuming that there are some who would not do the re-take,” Brion explained to reporters.


The labor official noted that there remained a high demand for practical or vocational nurses in hospitals and clinics both here and abroad.


Giving another type of nursing license to the exam takers who failed would be a way to help them find jobs abroad, Brion said.


“This will be a sunrise opportunity for them because they could still practice their course even though they failed the test,” he added.


In the Philippines, practical nurses are high school graduates who take two-year vocational nursing courses so that they can work in medical facilities. These nurses often perform simple medical tasks, mostly dealing with patient medication and care, under the direction of a full nurse or a physician.


Brion said he recently broached the idea to Senator Edgardo Angara, an educator, as well as officials of the Commission on Higher Education and to the Professional Regulatory Commission.


“They all agreed to its viability so we’ll meet soon and discuss it,” he added.


Meanwhile, Brion said the results of the June nursing licensure exam would be released by middle of August.


Out of the 42,000 who took the June 2006 licensure examination, only 17,000 passed the test.


The government, however, was forced to administer a retake of two parts of the exam after the United States’ Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools said it would not admit passers of the leakage-tainted June 2006 test.

The first batch of re-takers took the partial test last month, while the next batch will have their retake during the regular licensure exam in December


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