By Mayen Jaymalin
Filipino nurses are now shying away from the United States because of the prevailing financial crisis there.
Fewer Filipino nurses sought employment in the United States in the first half of the year as the country sank into recession, according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
TUCP secretary-general and former senator Ernesto Herrera said the number of Filipino nurses aspiring to work in the US plunged by 16 percent compared to the first semester of 2008.
“The deepening recession in America has clearly diminished the desire of Filipino nurses to seek employment there,” Herrera pointed out.
He said that a total of 8,272 Filipino nurses took the US National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for the first time (non-repeaters) from January to June, 1,565 fewer compared to the 9,837 that took the test in the same six-month period in 2008.
A total of 20,746 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time for the whole year of 2008 and Herrera said the number was lower by 3.5 percent compared to the 21,299 Filipino nurses that took the test for the first time in 2007.
Filipino nurses accounted for 37 percent of the 22,500 foreign-educated nurses who took the NCLEX for the first time in the first semester.
Herrera said that many Filipino nurses now prefer foreign labor markets other than America, particularly the United Kingdom and the Middle East.
“Actually, fewer nurses from India, Korea, Canada and Cuba are seeking US jobs as well,” he said.
Nurses from India who took the NCLEX for the first time in the first semester were down 56 percent to 750 from 1,715. Those from South Korea also dropped by 35 percent to 613 from 934.
Herrera claimed that about 600,000 nurses who passed the June 2009 licensure examination are now actively looking for jobs here and abroad and many of them have opted to work outside their profession.
The huge number of unemployed nurses includes the 99,837 who passed the local nursing licensure examinations from June 2008 to June 2009.
Last June alone, over 32,000 nursing graduates passed the licensure examination but local recruiters said they are unlikely to find employment abroad due to lack of necessary experience.
Meanwhile, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) reminded those who just passed the recent nursing licensure examination to personally register with the PRC.
Marco Sto. Tomas, PRC Board of Nursing member, also noted that the newly licensed nurses are scheduled to take their oath at the SMX Convention Center on Aug. 18 and 19.
Sto. Tomas said the schedule of oath taking will be according to school assignments and the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) will issue the necessary ticket for the event.
Schedule of regional oath taking is posted at www.bonphilippines.org.
By Mayen Jaymalin