New nursing law key to responsive healthcare system

November 4, 2022 Camille P. Balagtas 522 views

INCREASING the ranks of better-trained, better-compensated, and better-appreciated nurses will play a vital role in achieving more efficient access to Universal Health Care for every Filipino.

With this objective in mind, Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino recently filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1447, or the proposed “Philippine Nursing Practice Act of 2022”, which aims to provide a comprehensive nursing law.

Aside from existing components enshrined under existing laws, the measure introduces a new provision on the so-called Advanced Practice Nurse or APN, which according to Tolentino, “will be the prime mover” of the nursing profession in relation to the Universal Health Care Act.

“This will give qualified nurses expanded and collaborative roles that will aid in the delivery of a comprehensive health care service to Filipinos,” the bill’s explanatory note read.

Under SB 1447, an APN refers to a nurse “who has acquired a substantial level of theoretical knowledge and decision-making skill in a specialty area of nursing practice and demonstrated proficiency in clinical utilization of such knowledge and skill in providing expanded and collaborative expert care” from a recognized higher educational institution (HEI), aside from being a board passer.

The proposed legislation authorizes the practice of the so-called “Agreed Upon Based Care”— a mutually agreed upon patient care made by an APN and approved by the primary physician in charge, through teleconsult or other means of communication, after evaluation of the case referred, but limited only to circumstances “during an emergency” such as there is no physician in the area to physically assess the patient or lack of an available physician due to inaccessibility of the area.

SB 1447 also seeks to provide improvements in the practice of the nursing profession by instituting measures to promote comprehensive and relevant nursing practice standards, ensure decent working conditions, and support the professional growth of nurses.

Tolentino’s bill also includes a provision mandating the crafting of a “Philippine Professional Nursing Roadmap” (PPNR), to provide a sound, long-term strategy with clear objectives and action plans to further promote the nursing profession in the country, thereby ensuring the culture of excellence and dynamic leadership for Philippine nursing.

“With the nurses comprising the great majority of the healthcare industry, both in the institutional and community levels, utmost priority should be given to their needs in order to boost the morale of our Filipino nurses,” he said.