By Paolo Romero/The Philippine Star – Filipino nurses seeking jobs for the first time in the United States went up by 16 percent in the first quarter, Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. said yesterday.
Gullas, vice chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education, said 1,377 Philippine-educated nurses took the US licensure examination for the first time from January to March this year, hoping to practice their profession in the US.
The figure is up 16.4 percent compared to the 1,183 Filipino nurses who took the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for the first time in the same period in 2015, he said.
The number of Filipino nurses taking the NCLEX for the first time – excluding repeaters – is considered a reliable indicator as to how many of them are trying to obtain US licenses and seek gainful employment in the US.
“Filipinos nurses are among the hardest-working staff in American hospitals today. In fact, on weekends and holidays, Filipino nurses are readily available for additional work, when other nurses prefer to take the day off,” Gullas said.
The US itself has been producing a large number of nursing graduates every year, but Gullas said many of them choose to pursue other occupations.
“Many US-educated nurses practice their profession only for a few years. They easily get tired of tough hospital work and simply shift to other careers,” Gullas pointed out.
In the last 20 years, an annual average of 8,134 nurses educated in the Philippines took the NCLEX – administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. – for the first time.
Among foreign-educated nurses, Filipinos remain the most zealous job-seekers in America, where registered nurses (RNs) receive a median annual pay of $66,640 (P3.1 million), or an hourly rate of $32.04 (P1,492), according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
In occupational outlook, the BLS said the US would need 439,300 additional nurses plus 53,400 advanced practice nurses between now until 2024.
The BLS said employment growth will occur for a number of reasons, including the surge of newly insured patients due to Obamacare, or the US Affordable Care Act; the stronger emphasis on preventive care; and the rapidly increasing number of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.
The bureau also cited the robust demand for health-care services from the United States’ aging baby boomer generation, as they live longer and lead more active lives even in their senior years.
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