DOH eyes to tap ‘board eligibles’ to solve nurse shortage

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

June 8, 2023, 4:51 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is looking into tapping "board eligibles" to solve the shortage of nurses in public hospitals.

“’Yung mga board eligible, 'yung naka-graduate na ng four-year degree pero siguro 'di pa nakapasa na pwedeng ma-hire sa government even without their license and then gawin silang (The board eligibles, those who graduated from four-year degree course but have not passed the board, the government even without their license and then place them under) board eligible category,” DOH Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said in a televised public briefing.

Healthcare workers classified under such category will be given three to five years to pass the board exam, he said.

“Nagpupunta itong mga healthcare workers na ito sa BPO industry, sa tourism, eh sayang nangangailangan tayo ng nurses (These healthcare workers go to the BPO industry, to tourism [industry], when we need nurses),” he said.

Citing the latest DOH data on job vacancies, Herbosa disclosed that the agency needs 4,800 for its hospitals nationwide.

The DOH will also discuss with the Department of Budget and Management and legislators other ways to provide more benefits for healthcare workers and increase the salary of nurses working in private hospitals.

“Napakaraming trabaho ang nag-aantay para sa ating mga nurses at pipilitin kong mapabilis ang pag-hire at pag-fill nitong mga nurses para gumanda rin ang mga serbisyo sa ating mga medical centers at pampublikong pagamutan (There are many job vacancies for our nurses and I will try my best to fast track the hiring and filling up of these nurse positions to improve the services of medical centers and public health centers),” he said.

Earlier, the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) reported there are 951,105 registered nurses in the country but only 509,297 or 53.55 percent are practitioners as of March 24, 2023.

The PRC said the country does not meet the ratio of practicing nurses set by the World Health Organization which is 27.4 for nurses for every 10,000 individuals. (PNA)