MANILA, Philippines – Fewer Filipinos took the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for the 3rd quarter of this year.
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) secretary general and former Senator Ernesto Herrera revealed that only 2,227 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time from July to September.
The figure is down by 38% or 1,355 lower compared to the 3,582 number of examinees in the same 3-month period in 2009.
The NCLEX is the licensure exam administered by the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc.
Herrera said the number of Filipino nurses taking the test for the first time is a reliable indicator as to how many are trying to enter the profession in the US.
He added that a total of 7,780 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time from January to September. This is down 35% or 4,074 less versus the 11,854 number of examinees in the same 9-month period last year.
According to Herrera, the Philippines is still America's largest supplier of new foreign nurses, after India, South Korea, Canada and Nigeria.
Outside the US, the Philippines is also the United Kingdom's 3rd biggest supplier of new foreign nurses, after India and Australia.
"We now have thousands of registered nurses engaged in services that have nothing to do with their profession, working as contact center staff, baristas, cashiers, even lotto terminal operators," Herrera said.
The TUCP supports the continued deployment of Filipino nurses to lucrative overseas labor markets.
"We obviously have a large surplus of nurses," Herrera said. "We would prefer that government encourage the deployment of nurses, and discourage the placement of domestic helpers overseas."
He explained that Filipino nurses are less vulnerable to employer abuse and that their skills protect them.
"As to domestic helpers, they are extremely susceptible to abuse because they live with their employers, and their skills are easy to replace," Herrera said.