MANILA – Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Party-list Rep. Marissa “Del Mar” Magsino on Wednesday called on the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and stakeholders from the nursing profession to lift the moratorium on the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Nursing program and provide guidelines for new applications.
The lawmaker made the call through an online dialogue with CHED authorities and other concerned stakeholders in the nursing profession.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the worsening shortage of health workers, especially nurses, in dealing with the global and domestic magnitude of the spread of the disease.
With an increasing demand for Filipino nurses, not only for health institutions in the Philippines but also abroad, Magsino envisioned the utmost importance of lifting the moratorium.
The Philippines requires 300,470 nurses to meet the ratio of 27.4 nurses for every 10,000-population based on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requirement.
To date, the country only has 99,205, resulting in a shortfall of 201,265 nurses.
During the policy dialogue, CHED Commissioner Aldrin Darilag said the agency is now finalizing the Memorandum Order that will provide the guidelines for the application of higher education institutions (HEIs) for new nursing programs, thus superseding CHED Memorandum 32, series of 2010, which imposed the moratorium.
Dr. Carmelita Divinagracia, a member of the Technical Panel on Nursing, presented the draft guidelines. CHED committed to finalize the guidelines by December 2022.
“Our stakeholders from the nursing profession have been clamoring for the lifting of the moratorium. First, it undermines the role of nurses here in the country in delivering quality health care to the people, and their contribution to the achievement of our health targets such as universal health care, emergency preparedness and response, and compliance with the requirements of UN Sustainable Development Goals. Second, the moratorium also limits the dreams of other Filipinos who want to work abroad as nurses. The OFW Party List believes it is high time to officially lift the moratorium and allow our (HEIs) to apply for new nursing programs,” Magsino said.
During the virtual policy dialogue, the stakeholders from the nursing profession composed of deans of different universities and officers of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed their support for the lifting of the moratorium and provided comments on the draft CHED guidelines that will govern the application process.
The participants also discussed the need to raise the curriculum to international standards, return of service for graduates of state universities and colleges, and the need for more training hospitals to comply with the demand for proper training of nursing students and graduates.
Discussions also included the need for sufficient work opportunities and competitive salaries for nursing graduates who prefer to work in the country to be with their families.
“Our nurses are in demand all over the world, more so after the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. They are recognized not only for their competence but also for their compassion for and dedication to their patients, which is innate in Filipinos. We need to balance this demand with sufficient supply, hence it is our hope that the guidelines will indeed be approved and published as committed by CHED to allow our HEIs to open new nursing programs as soon as possible,” Magsino said. (PNA)