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May 1, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 343 views

HIGHER salaries and better opportunities encourage more Filipino nurses to take US licensure examinations, Quezon City Representative Marvin Rillo said.

For the first quarter of 2023, a total of 11,013 nursing graduates from the Philippines took the U.S. licensure examination.

Rillo stressed that pay hike is “most effective” government intervention to address looming nursing shortage due to overseas migration.

“In the January to March quarter, we saw the highest number of Philippine-educated nurses taking the NCLEX for the first time, without counting repeaters,” Rillo said, citing newly released figures from the U.S. National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. (USNCSBN),” Rillo said.

The 11,013 represents a surge of 200 percent when compared to the 3,714 Filipino nursing graduates that took the NCLEX, or National Council Licensure Examination, for the first time in the same three-month period in 2022.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in March ordered the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to come up with interventions to address the looming shortage of nurses due to overseas migration.

Rillo renewed his call for Congress to raise by 75 percent the base pay of public nurses to slow down their exodus to America and other foreign labor markets.

“We maintain that the most effective intervention is for Congress to substantially increase the base pay of public nurses,” Rillo said.

He is batting for the passage of House Bill No. 5276, which seeks to boost from P36,619 to P63,997 the minimum base of nurses in government hospitals.

Under Rillo’s bill, the lowest base pay of public nurses would be raised by six notches to Salary Grade 21 prescribed under the Salary Standardization Law of 2019.

The World Health Organization (WHO) previously projected that “without action, there will be a shortfall of 4.6 million nurses worldwide by 2030.”

In the Philippines, the WHO said the shortage of nurses is expected to be 249,843 by 2030, “unless greater investment is made now to retain them in the local health sector.”

Meanwhile, the latest numbers from the USNCSBN show that a total of 2,907 nursing graduates from India also took the NCLEX for the first time from January to March, along with 1,758 graduates from South Korea.

A total of 767 nurses educated in Nepal and 680 nurses schooled in Puerto Rico likewise took the NCLEX for the first time last year.