The House of Representatives has unanimously approved on final reading a bill that provides for nurse-to-patient ratio of 1:10 and mandates additional protection and development of the nursing profession in the country.
House Bill No. 9389 or the New Philippine Nursing Practice Act received all 213 votes of congressmen present during the plenary session on Monday, August 24.
HB 9389 consolidated ten different legislative proposals that also moved to restructure the scope and practice of nursing even as it imposed stiff penalties for various acts such as the practice of the nursing profesison without a certificate of registration or license; depriving a nurse of incentives and benefits provided under existing law and imposing mandatory overtime service without valid reason, among others.
Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, principal author of the bill, said passage of the measure has become imperative in order to further protect and develop the nursing profession.
He noted that nursing has remained the top career choice among young Filipinos, with the Commission on Higher Education reporting that nursing students rose from 30,000 in 2000 to 450,000 in 2007.
“Given the statistics, it is but necessary to institute repforms on Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 so that the nurses are accorded further protection and their welfare enhanced,” explained Rodriguez.
Isabela Rep. Alyssa Sheena Tan, also an author of the bill, underscored the necessity of supporting the nursing profession whose members are currently in the frontline in the country’s fight against the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
“The bill proposes a new comprehensive policy that will give Filipino nurses an opportunity to upgrade themselves while sustaining the country;s growing needs for a healthcare professional,” said Tan.
HB 9389 restructure the scope and practice of nursing as it provides for processes of certification and specialization. It also expands the power of the Board of Nursing.
Additional nursing educational requirements for various levels of the nursing practice is also mandated under the bill.
It further sets the conditions for allowing foreign nurses to practice the profession in the Philippines.
Other prohibited acts include the use of fraudulent, suspicious and expired certificate of registration, professional identificaiton card and advertising one’s self to convey the impression that one is a nurse.
The use of abbreviations B.S.N for Bachelor of Science in Nursing; R.N. for Registgered Nurse and APN or Avance Practice Nurse without having been conferred the educational degrees and professional registration for the said titles is prohibited.
Under the bill he maximum number of patients to be cared for by each nurse in a healthcare facility will be determined by the ratio of staff nurse-to-patient in a general nursing service.
For general units, the ratio of one nurse to ten patients will be observed although this may vary based on the assessed Safe Staffing Standard.
Commission of any of the prohibited acts identified by the measure will be sanctioned with a fine ranging from P100,000 to P300,000 or imprisonment of one year to six years, or both.