Fewer Pinoy nurses take US licensure tests
Lawmaker pushes for local jobs for Filipino nurses

MANILA, Philippines – The number of Filipino nurses seeking to qualify for jobs in the US continues to drop, based on numbers presented by partylist Rep. Arnel Ty of LPG Marketers’ Association (LPG-MA).

The number is down 40% – from 1,454 Filipinos who took the US professional licensure test in January-March 2011 to only 863 in the same period this year. The numbers only cover first-time takers. The same trend was seen in previous tests.

For 2011, a total of 5,630 Filipino takers took the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX) for the first time. It is down 25% from 2007—at the height of the nursing boom—when a total of 21,499 nursing graduates took the exam.

Ty is pushing for a new bill that will provide local jobs for the growing number of unemployed Filipino nurses.

His proposal, House Bill 4582 seeks to revive the Nurses Assigned in Rural Service or “NARS,” a short-lived government project that sought to improve healthcare in the country’s 1,000 poorest towns.

Ty said the government should also look for other foreign labor markers for Filipino markets.

Ty also denounced an American politician’s remark on Filipino nurses.

Washington, D.C Councilmember Marion Barry Jr. was recently quoted saying: “It’s so bad that if you go to the hospital now, you find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines. Let’s grow from our own nurses, so that we don’t have to be scrounging around in our community clinics and other kinds of places, having to hire people from somewhere else.”

Ty said they were “offensive remarks.”

“Filipino nurses provide a great service to America. They should immediately make their presence felt by writing directly to Barry and his colleagues in the US capital’s lawmaking-body,” he added. –