A total of 3,810 Philippine-educated nurses took the US National Council Licensure Examination for the first time from January to September this year, in the hopes of practicing their profession in America, Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. said over the weekend.
“The number is up 17 percent versus the 3,253 Filipino nurses who took the NCLEX for the first time, excluding repeaters, in the same nine-month period in 2014,” Gullas, vice chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education, said.
The NCLEX refers to the licensure examination administered by the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc.
The number of Filipino nurses taking the NCLEX for the first time is considered a good indicator as to how many of them are trying to obtain US licenses, or seek gainful employment in America.
USNCSBN statistics show that among foreign-educated nurses, Filipinos remain the most active job seekers in America, according to Gullas.
He said a total of 708 Indians, 382 Puerto Ricans, 292 South Koreans, and 207 Jamaicans also took the NCLEX for the first time from January to September this year.
Since 1995, a total of 161,181 nurses educated in the Philippines have taken the NCLEX for the first time.
Meanwhile, Gullas wants all nurses employed by the Philippine government to receive a monthly salary that is P6,000 to P7,000 higher than what they are now getting.
“Our nurses deserve all the support and encouragement that we can give them,” Gullas, a strong backer of the Filipino nursing profession, said.
Section 32 of the Nursing Law of 2002, or Republic Act 9173, provides that the basic pay of nurses employed in hospitals run by the national government “shall not be lower than Salary Grade 15,” or not lower than the range of P24,887 to P26,868—depending on their length of service.
Despite the law, however, government nurses are getting paid only P18,549 to P19,887 a month –- the equivalent of Salary Grade 11.
In September, the party-list group Ang Nars formally asked the Supreme Court to compel the national government to pay public nurses the higher salaries due them under the law.