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More Filipino Nurses Seen Applying for US Jobs

July 21st, 2007

MANILA - Filipino nurses are expected to seek work in the United States in droves once an international test center for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is established in Manila next month. But even ahead of that, according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, some 10,000 Filipino nurses have taken the exam abroad in the last six months in the hope of finding employment in America.

TUCP spokesperson Alex Aguilar said that the establishment of the "home ground" testing facility is a positive development for Filipino nurses. "In the past, Filipino nursing graduates had to travel abroad to take the NCLEX, and this created accompanying disadvantages and pressures, the foremost of which is financial," he said in a statement.

The NCLEX is the final step in the nurse eligibility process in the US.

Aguilar pointed out that before the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. (NCSBN) allowed the administration of the NCLEX in Manila, Filipino nurses had to go abroad and take the test in the United States, or in international test centers in American Samoa, Australia, Canada, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the Virgin Islands.

"India has multiple NCLEX test centers. This is why Indian nursing graduates find it easier to pass the test and enter the US nursing profession," Aguilar said, adding that the difficulties that Filipino nurses have had to undergo to take the exams resulted in a passing rate of only 50 percent.

He said a total of 9,944 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX in the testing centers abroad from January to June. The number was 62 percent higher than the 6,171 who took the exams during the same period last year.

The Philippines had the largest number of nurses taking the NCLEX during the first half of 2007, followed by India with 2,732 examinees; South Korea, 1,022; Canada, 414; and Cuba, 340.

TUCP has been advocating the deployment of "surplus" nurses abroad "to take their skills to wherever these will get the greatest reward."

The TUCP said that the country's more than 400 nursing schools currently have a total of 632,108 students compared to 486,233 last year.



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