Cebu 1st District Rep. Eduardo “Eddie” Gullas has urged the government to establish a program that would grant cash bonuses and career incentives to “inactive” nurses.
Gullas said his proposal seeks to address the “growing” shortage of nurses and encourage them to resume their practice and assist the government’s battle against COVID-19.
Gullas adds many nursing graduates have chosen another field of work, mostly as business process outsourcing staff, sales agents or flight attendants.
“We have thousands of nursing graduates who have not been practicing their profession. Some of them are already registered nurses, while the others never bothered to take the licensure test after graduation,” Gullas said in statement.
He noted that many nursing graduates in Cebu became flight attendants at the height of the air travel boom and a number of them are now out of work due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“The massive economic dislocation and jobs destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic might provide these nursing graduates who are not practicing their profession the chance to rethink their career paths and go back to nursing,” Gullas said.
He said it is about time for the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to implement a program, which may include career incentives and financial benefits such as a one-time transition bonus and free enrolment in the various courses being offered by the Continuing Professional Development Council for Nurses.
“We in Congress are ready to help fund the program, which could help address the lingering shortage of nursing staff in public health institutions,” Gullas said.
He sounded an alarm that the country’s production of new registered nurses (RNs) is being affected by the pandemic, after the Nursing Licensure Examination (NLE) originally scheduled last May 31 to June 1 was postponed to November 22 to 23.
He said the NLE is usually conducted twice a year – in June and in November.
According to Gullas, the Philippines produced an annual average of 10,536 new registered nurses from 2017 to 2019.