The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has proposed a new nursing curriculum that aims to boost the number of nurses working in the country, by allowing undergrad nursing students to work already.
The proposed "BS Nursing Curriculum with Exit Credentials" will allow a first year nursing student to attain a certificate that would certify that the student has “basic nursing skills in rendering safe and appropriate care," and work as a nursing aide and nursing assistant.
Those in their 2nd or 3rd year may receive a diploma that would certify that the student can “demonstrate safe, appropriate and holistic care” to people and work as a nursing associate, community health nurse and associate maternal and child nurse.
Those who reach their 4th year will receive their Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.
“That means if we run this program, in one to two years you have additional nursing manpower, which can already be employed in our health facilities. Because the need for nursing professionals is not all nursing graduates. There are intermediate individual credentials that can be used,” CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera said in an online press conference.
De Vera said the proposal was discussed with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the private sector, and it has generated “significant interest” from healthcare providers in “teaming up with schools,"
“The President instructed CHED to proceed with the proposals we have presented,” he said.
While the shortage of nurses is “not a new” issue, the shortage of nurses in the country has been more apparent or “highly visible” due to the COVID- 19 pandemic that “adversely affected health care delivery,"
De Vera added that there is also a nursing shortage around the world, prompting countries to “relax” their rules on movement of professionals.
Figures from the Professional Regulation Commission show that the percentage of the passers of the Nursing Board exams is lower than non-passers from 2017 to 2021, wherein those who passed were 42,674 while 46,355 failed.
Moreover, 51.2 percent of the qualified nurses choose to work overseas.
“The shortage is very clear, so we have to address it as a country,” he said.
CHED also plans to encourage non-practicing nurses to work in the health care industry.
“We have to provide information on the vacancies and permanent positions in private and public health sectors, so if they know what is the direction for them to work, we can convince them to go there. We can harness The Philippine Nursing Association, schools, and redirect qualified and interested nurses to jobs that are available,” De Vera said.
CHED also plans to assist underboard nursing graduates, or those who failed the board exams, by partnering with hospitals for more exposure, retooling the BS Nursing program, offering jobs for them that “can help augment our healthcare system," and providing incentives and financial support to deserving nursing graduates.