Go lauds 'heroism' and contributions of Filipino nurses

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has lauded the heroism and contribution of Filipino nurses both in the country and abroad, particularly amid the pandemic, as the Senate Committee on Civil Service took up his proposed measure improving nursing education in the country.

In a speech in yesterday’s plenary session, Go, chairman of the Senate Health and Demography committee, expressed his sincere gratitude to the committee for taking up his Senate Bill (SB) 395, also known as the “Advanced Nursing Education Act of 2019”.

The bill seeks to improve the nursing profession by instituting measures that will result in relevant nursing education, humane working conditions, and better career prospects for Filipino nurses.

“Napakaimportante po ng measure na ito upang mas lalong paigtingin ang nursing education program sa ating bansa (This measure is very important in further strengthening the nursing education program in our country),” Go said.

He noted that Filipino nurses, due to their competence and caring nature, are sought-after even in other countries, thus contributing significantly to the Philippine economy.

Go reiterated the need for a more standardized and advanced nursing education program that would establish a solid foundation for the country’s nurses to enable them to become more competent and gain better career opportunities.

His bill seeks to require the establishment of standard basic and graduate programs for nursing education, to be established in Commission on Higher Education-accredited institutions.

Under the basic program, students will be mandated to undergo community integration and immersion to encourage them to work in various communities.

Meanwhile, a graduate program will be built on the experiences and skills of the nurses towards mastery, expertise and leadership in practice, research and education.

The faculty-to-student ratio will also be in accordance with the standards to be determined by CHED. The aspiring nurses will also have to pass a National Nursing Admission Test to ensure the quality of students getting in the program.

“This is indeed very timely as our country and the entire world struggle to strengthen the medical frontliners amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Go said.

He emphasized that the measure would also benefit the entire healthcare system.

With more competent nurses manning the hospitals, Go said that patients could rest easy knowing that they are being provided with the best medical care possible.

“Not only this, even the families of the patients will feel more at ease knowing that their loved ones will receive care from highly trained nurses,” he noted.

Ending his speech, Go thanked the nurses and all medical frontliners for their contributions and sacrifices in the fight against COVID-19. He also asked them to continue taking good care of their patients as he pledged his continuing support for them.

In 2019, Go was instrumental in the passage of Republic Act (RA) 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law 5 as its author and co-sponsor. The law gives civilian government employees, including nurses, another round of salary increases broken down in tranches.

In the same year, he also ensured enough funding was allotted for the implementation of a Supreme Court decision upholding Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 some 18 years after the law was enacted. The law increases the minimum salary grade of the Nurse I position to SG-15. The ruling was implemented the following year.

Throughout the pandemic, Go has also been aggressively promoting the interests and protecting the welfare of medical frontliners.

He had successfully pushed for free COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, hazard pay, and special risk allowances for health workers at the onset of the outbreak.