US jobs for Filipino nurses delayed by retrogression

By Phoebe Jen Indino
An official from the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) stated that retrogression continues to be the reason why no visas for competent nurses applying for work in the US are available, thus resulting to delay in their employment overseas.

However, PNAA President Leo Felix Jurado, during the 7th PNAA International Conference in this city which culminated Saturday gave assurances that the organization is attempting interventions to aid Filipino nurses applying for US visas.

Under said visa retrogression, as of December, 2009 visa applications from the Philippines shall be processed only through to August, 2005.

Jurado said Filipino nurses seeking employment in the US can be assured that talks are going on between nurse communities and US senators to include the end of visa retrogression in their health care reform measures.

According to the PNAA President, the PNAA is assiduously monitoring the development of such measures while maintaining hopes that the US will soon adjust its bulletin to accommodate more nurses since the current retrogression also presents challenges to hospitals, nursing homes and health care employers faced with worsening shortage in nurses in the US.

The retirement of registered nurses (RNs), compounded by the increasing demand for health care services account for the large vacuum in such shortage.

As an alternative, the PNAA has initiated a Memorandum of Understanding to hire more Filipino nurses with other countries other than US such as Canada.

The Philippines, nevertheless, remain the number one source of foreign nurses in the US, with an estimated 85,000 such nurses in various US states.

Meanwhile, the PNAA is coordinating closely with nursing schools and other institutions to increase the quality of nursing education that would in turn increase their competency and job qualification.

Jurado said, “the PNAA is also helping Filipino nurses “increase competency in their profession by conducting mentoring programs through a PNAA international conference held every two years,” he said.

This year, the 7th PNAA international conference, in collaboration with the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) and the Association of Deans of the Philippines Colleges of Nursing (ADPCN) sought to enhance nursing partnership across the globe which is expected to help address various issues confronting Filipino nurses worldwide.

It can be recalled that Belen Gabato, member of the Board of Nursing in Nevada, USA earlier said that the slowdown of Filipino nurses deployed to the US was mainly due to retrogression and the strict processing of necessary documents.

“The process will eventually take long because qualified applicants are also processing the papers of family members they will be bringing,” she said.

Gabato also stressed that the processing of documents usually takes at least four years because qualified nurses will be considered immigrants, which is why they have the privilege of bringing their families abroad.

She added that in eight years time, there will be a dire shortage of professional nurses in the US. “We project that in the year 2016 to 2025, the US will have a shortage of 500, 000 nurses,” she said.

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