Speaker Lord Allan Velasco lauded the decision of the Professional Regulations Commission to push through with the 2021 Nursing Licensure Examination in July, saying that the move will help address the shortage of health care workers faced by medical facilities and health centers as a result of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The PRC has decided to allow the first batch of nursing graduates to take the board examination that was originally scheduled this month.
“This is a welcome development as it would help ease health care workforce shortages that have become more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Velasco said.
PRC Chairman Teofilo Pilando Jr. informed Velasco about the decision to postpone this month”s NLE and move it to July 3 and 4. The nursing qualifying examinations will be taken by the first batch of examinees.
The second batch will still take the examination during the original schedule of November 21 and 22.
It will be recalled that the PRC had postponed to November the first batch of the 2021 NLE originally scheduled on May 30 and 31 upon the request of the Philippine Nursing Association due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
This prompted Velasco to suggest that those who were supposed to take the May 2021 exam be tapped as complementary manpower amid the shortage of health workers in the country.
Velasco said these “underboard” nursing graduates can work under the supervision of a registered nurse or doctor through a special arrangement with the PRC.
In his letter to Velasco, Pilando said the PRC reconsidered the initial postponement as it “fully understands the need to conduct the NLE to augment the Philippine health care system during this public health emergency, while being also concerned with the safety and welfare of the examinees and examination personnel.”
Pilando also told Velasco that nursing graduates may already be tapped to assist medical facilities and health centers during public health emergency.
The PRC chairman cited Memorandum Order No. 14, series of 2009, which provides that unlicensed nursing graduates may be given responsibilities similar to that of nursing aides in the hospital setting.
“Should they (nursing graduates) be employed as nurse attendants or aides, they should be under the supervision of a registered nurse of the facility,” Pilando said.
Velasco thanked Pilando for his “swift response and explicit plan of action to our call to immediately supplement our medical frontliners amid the continued threat of COVID-19.”
“We will need all the resources we can get to help fight the pandemic,” the Speaker added.