Number of jobless Filipino nurses increasing

by Apples Jalandoni, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2010 10:34 AM | Updated as of Jul 04 2010 06:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Richard Palikpik was one of the 92,000 nursing graduates who took the licensure examinations on Saturday.

Palikpik said he spent the last 3 months reviewing for the exam.

“Ayaw namin bumaba pa ang aming rating para hindi rin bumaba ang tingin ng ibang bansa sa amin,” he said.

But according to an official of the Review Center Association of the Philippines (RECAP), failing in the exams should be the least of the nursing graduates’ concerns.

“Ang pinakamahirap ay ang maghanap ng trabaho. Madali lang naman pumasa,” said Dr. Carl Balita, vice-president of RECAP.

According to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), there are 187,000 unemployed nurses in the country today. They can't find work because there are no vacancies in hospitals, it added.

Lack of work experience also prevents them from seeking jobs abroad like in the United States and Britain.

That is why Jen Palmero, who took the exams, said she would accept any work abroad even as a caregiver with lower salary.

“Caregiver is okay,” she said. “Related naman.”

For the PRC, it will be a waste of manpower if the government continues to allow nurses to work abroad as caregivers or nursing assistants.

Nursing graduates, meanwhile, called on the new administration to increase the plantilla positions of nurses in government hospitals to accommodate new nurses.