Saturday, March 31, 2007

// Resources // Philippines nursing schools for 2nd coursers

Hundreds of Filipino professionals, including doctors, lawyers, engineers, and accountants, among others, are going back to school to pursue a degree in nursing. Even Filipino immigrants in the US are going back to the country to enrol in schools here because of the tight competition for slots in community colleges and the high cost of private nursing colleges there.

We've provided a list of Philippine nursing schools that accept second-degree enrollees to help would-be nursing students find the right school for them. This list is by no means an endorsement of any of the institutions included here. Before you enrol in any of the nursing programs, check with the Commission on Higher Education (www.ched.gov.ph) if the school you've chosen has full accreditation and that they are allowed to offer a nursing program up to the fourth year. Some schools are only licensed to offer the associate program (2 years), which means that if the schools has not received the full accreditation by the time you finish the associate levels, you might have to trasnfer to another school.

Most of these schools provide nursing programs for second coursers that lasts from two to three years. Ask if the school provides night and weekend classes, as most of them do, so that you can better manage your time if you're working or you have a family to take care of.

Another criteria to consider when choosing a school is the school's hospital affiliations. See if the school is connected with major government hospitals for student clinical rotations. Students usually get better clinical experience in government hospitals compared with private institutions.

Click here to download the list of Philippine nursing schools.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Psychiatric Nursing Interventions

Looking for psychiatric nursing interventions? Click here.

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// Resources // Key contacts for Illinois license application

It's always good to know who to contact when you've hit a bump in your application. Here's a short list of people who could help sort out your concerns when applying for a license in Illinois:

If you want to request for fingerprint cards or ask a question about applying for a nursing license in Illinois, you may get in touch with:

Kittie D. West
FPR.PRFGROUP09(at)illinois.gov
Board Liaison, Health Services Section
Division of Professional Regulation
IL Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation

When applying for Illinois, you send your application to Continental Testing Services. If you have concerns with your application, you could contact:

Sue Zajda
szajda(at)continentaltesting.net
Continental Testing Services

Fingerprinting is mandatory for most US states, including Illinois. There are several companies that can process your fingerprint cards, one of them is Integrated Biometric Technology. To ask for the current prices or other concerns you might have, you may contact:

Dianna Smith
dksmith(at)L1id.com
Integrated Biometric Technology
An L-1 Identity Solutions Company
Protecting and Securing Personal Identities and Assets

(Identix Identification Services has now merged with IBT)

1650 Wabash Ave, Suite D
Springfield, IL 62704
Telephone: 217-547-2130
Facsimile: 217-793-7393
Web site: www.L1id.com

IMPORTANT NOTE: These people have been very helpful and have been very accommodating, so when you contact them, please ask kindly. Show respect and they will give the same back to you.

**If you find this information useful, please drop us a note on our Comments box. Click the Comment link below.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

CGFNS FAQ for June 2006 passers

Here's an FAQ from CGFNS for June 2006 passers:

Does passage of the NCLEX or the CGFNS Exam make someone who passed only the June 2006 Exam eligible for a VisaScreen certificate?

No. In order to become eligible for a VisaScreen Certificate, CGFNS has required that a June 2006 passer must first re-take and pass, with a score of 75 percent or better, the “special voluntary examination” covering the subject matter of Tests 3 and 5. Passage of the NCLEX or the CGFNS Examination by any passer of the compromised June 2006 PRC examination will not substitute for the requirement that he or she take the “special voluntary examination” authorized by Executive Order 609 issued by the Philippine Government on March 12, 2007.

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Does the CGFNS decision have an effect on the validity of the Philippine nursing licensure?

No. CGFNS recognizes the validity of the Philippine nursing license obtained by the June 2006 passers. The CGFNS decision to deny issuing a VisaScreen Certificate to the June 2006 passers of the Philippine Nursing Licensure Examination relates only to their status under U.S. immigration law.

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When must I re-take Tests 3 and 5 to be eligible for a VisaScreen Certificate?

June, 2006 Philippine Nursing Licensure Examination test passers must re-take Tests 3 and 5 as provided in Executive Order 609 stating that a “special voluntary examination” for this purpose will be given both in June and December, 2007. A June 2006 passer may take this special voluntary examination in either one of those months, at the examinee’s choice. Executive Order 609 does not authorize re-takes of Tests 3 and 5 after December 2007.

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What score do I have to get in order to be eligible for VisaScreen Certificate?

You must obtain a passing score of 75 percent or better on each Test. An average score of 75 -- in which one score is above 75 and one below 75 -- will not be sufficient to qualify for VisaScreen certification.

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The American Nurses Association (ANA) has recommended that the June 2006 passers should re-take the entire licensure examination, even though CGFNS requires a re-take of only Tests 3 and 5. Which path should I follow?

To gain eligibility for VisaScreen certification, which is a pre-requisite to obtaining a U.S. occupational visa, you should meet the standard set by CGFNS, i.e., retaking Tests 3 and 5 before the end of 2007. ANA has clarified its position by stating that "ANA recognizes the CGFNS' position that successful retake of Tests #3 and #5 is an acceptable remedy to meet the needs of a VisaScreen Certificate."

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If I take the re-take of Tests 3 and 5 in June 2007, and I fail to get a score of 75 in one or both tests, can I re-take one or both Tests in December 2007?

No. After you have re-taken Tests 3 and 5 once in a “special voluntary examination,” no further re-take is authorized by the Executive Order of the Philippine Government.

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If I pass Tests 3 and 5 in 2007, what other things must I do to obtain a VisaScreen Certificate?

Detailed information about the requirements for a VisaScreen Certificate are available on this website at http://www.cgfns.org/files/pdf/req/vs-requirements.pdf

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Who is ICHP?

The International Commission on Healthcare Professions is a division of CGFNS International. CGFNS launched ICHP in 1996 to administer its VisaScreen program, which is a federally-approved screening program for foreign healthcare workers seeking an occupational visa in the United States.

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What is VisaScreen and why do I need it?

U.S. Immigration law now requires that healthcare professionals, other than physicians, complete a screening program in order to qualify for certain occupational visas. VisaScreen, a program offered by The International Commission on Healthcare Professions (ICHP), a division of CGFNS International, enables healthcare professionals to meet this requirement by verifying and evaluating their credentials to ensure that they meet the government's minimum eligibility standards. CGFNS is named in Federal law as a qualified provider of such a screening program.

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What does VisaScreen look at?

VisaScreen includes an educational review, licensure review, English language skills assessment and passage of one of two approved examinations for registered nurses (CGFNS International Qualifying Exam or NCLEX-RN). Applicants who successfully complete VisaScreen will receive a VisaScreen Certificate, which can be presented to a consular officer or, in the case of adjustment of status, the Attorney General as part of a visa application

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If I am a registered nurse, do I need to complete the CGFNS International Qualifying Exam and the NCLEX-RN® examination in order to complete my VisaScreen application?

No. You only need to successfully complete either one of the exams.

For more information about CGFNS, go to www.cgfns.org

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Texas feels nursing shortage

While US legislators continue to debate solutions to the nursing shortage, hospitals everywhere in the state go on hurting with inadequate nursing staff on their floors.

Khou.com reports that the nursing shortage has hit Texas hospitals hard. See story here: Nurses needed, stat: Nursing shortage hits hospitals hard

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

// How To // US Immigration Processing for Nurses

Many Filipino nurses, including this author, continue to hope of finally being able to work in the US and start a new life there soon. Here's an article written for Basta Pinoy News by Vanessa Barcelona, a US immigration lawyer, about the steps needed to get papers processed and dreams fulfilled.

http://www.bastapinoy.com/immigration_0203a.htm

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Japan looks to ease entry of Filipino nursing caregivers

The Japanese government is looking to introduce a new less-stringent license category for Filipino caregivers to allow an increased number of caregivers to work in the country.

The Japan Times reports that the new scheme will enable Filipino caregivers to be employed despite failing Japan's national exam. The caregivers will be allowed to work under a practical license, which will likely have certain limitations compared to the regular license.

Read the full story here.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Filipinos make it in the US

There are hundreds of success stories of Filipino nurses working in the US. A story from The Times-Tribune in Pennsylvania tells about how a community in this state has welcomed Filipino nurses and their families and how these immigrants are adjusting very well to the weather, culture, and new environment they're in.

Read the story here.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

// Training // Heart Center training schedule

Here's the training schedule of the Philippine Heart Center for the months of April and May. For more training dates, please click here

BLS and ECG April 2, 2007
BLS and PALS April 10, 2007
PALS April 16-17, 2007
ACLS April 17, 25-27, 2007
ECG April 23-24, 2007
BLS May 10. 2007
PALS May 16-17, 2007
ECG May 23-24, 2007
ACLS May 25-27, 2007

To get more information, you can call the Division of Nursing Education and Research at phone numbers 9252401 loc 3209/3210.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

// How To // UPDATED Applying for a nursing license in Illinois

UPDATE: In Sept. 2011, IDFPR made some changes to the application guidelines that affect internationally-educated nurses. Updated information is provided after each step, where necessary.

Here's a quick rundown of the things to do when applying for a nursing license in the state of Illinois if you're a foreign-educated nurse:

1. Apply for a Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) report from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). Request for a Course by Course evaluation or the Full Education report. Download the application form from the CGFNS Web site (http://www.cgfns.org).

*** You may apply for a CES with either CGFNS or with Education Records Evaluation Services.

2. If your school's medium of instruction is NOT English, apply and take the TOEFL iBT (www.ets.org/toefl). How do you know if you're school's medium of instruction is English? Aside from trying to recall if your teachers taught in English and made you read books in English, you can ask your registrar. The medium of instruction is required in the CES report, and this part will be filled in by your registrar or dean. (See instructions in the CES handbook in the application form.)

*** In the official IDFPR application guideline, it states that if your medium of instruction and textbooks are in English, the English language proficiency exam may be waived. However, I have not seen or heard of a case where the IDFPR has waived this requirement, so you may have to ask them personally as this will be reviewed on a case-to-case basis.
*** IDFPR now accepts IELTS exam scores, aside from TOEFL. In my opinion, you may want to go for IELTS as this test is recognized as well by other regulators outside the US, such as the UK, Australia, Canada and NZ, among others. TOEFL is only recognized mostly by US-based institutions.

3. Apply for state licensure by completing an application form (http://www.idfpr.com/dpr/apply/Rn.asp) and sending it to Continental Testing Services (CTS). Before sending your application form, request for a fingerprinting card from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

To request the card, you can send an e-mail to Ms. West through her mail: FPR.PRFGROUP09(at)illinois.gov. Please ask kindly when you e-mail her.

*** It's been years since I last communicated with Ms. West and I am unsure if she still works for   IDFPR, so you may want to check this first. If you have new contact information, please send me a message so I may update this information.

When you receive your card, fill it up and go to NBI Carriedo. Buy a P20 ticket at the gate and then proceed to room 604. You will be given a piece of paper which you'll show to the fingerprinting person on the 5th floor. When you're done, send the fingerprinting card to Integrated Biometric Technology:

Integrated Biometric Technology, an L-1 Identity Solutions Company
(formerly Identix Identification Services)
1650 Wabash Ave Suite D
Springfield, IL 62704

*** The NBI may have changed their fees and their step-by-step workflow. Again, if you have newer information, do share with us here.

Check IBT's Web site to find out how much they charge for the fingerprinting processing. Enclose a note to request IBT to send the receipt to CTS.

Each step requires you to pay certain fees. The list of fees is printed on the application packets. If you're in the Philippines, you can pay through bank draft. Go to a bank where you have an account and ask how you can get a bank draft. Before you go to your bank, make sure you know the exact name and address of the institution to which you'll be sending the payment and the amount, of course. Once you have the bank draft, send it together with your application forms to the respective organizations (CGFNS, CTS, etc.)

Common questions:
1. Do you need to take the CGFNS certificate exam?
No. You don't need the CGFNS exam. However, if you already have one, you can ask CGFNS to submit that to CTS in lieu of the CES.

2. Can you apply for the CES and the state licensure with CTS at the same time?
Yes. You can submit the forms at the same time, but your application won't be processed unless the initial steps are completed (CES then TOEFL then CTS application.)

3. Can you take the IELTS instead of TOEFL?
UPDATED Yes. The Illinois nursing board now accepts TOEFL AND IELTS scores. As mentioned earlier, if your CES report indicates that your medium of instruction and textbooks in school were in English, you may have the English test waived, HOWEVER, you still will need a passing English test score for the Visascreen application later on.

4. Fedex doesn't deliver to P.O. Box addresses. What address can I use to send my documents to CTS?
Here is the alternate address of CTS:

Continental Testing Services, Inc
547 S. LaGrange Road
LaGrange, Illinois 60525

Links:
http://www.idfpr.com/DPR/APPLY/FORMS/CGFNS_02.pdf
http://www.idfpr.com/dpr/WHO/nurs.asp

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Retake registration Web site up

Registration for the special review classes for nurses who will retake Tests 3 & 5 of the local licensure exam will start on March 21 and end on April 4. However, slots are limited. Each review center would only accommodate up to 100 participants and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration can be done at this Web site: http://www.specialnursingreview.dole.gov.ph

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Arkansas nursing shortage continues

Hospitals in Arkansas continue to feel the shortage in nursing staff, despite the wage increases introduced since last year. Part of the solution that health administrators in the state are looking at is hiring Filipino nurses. One hospital, for example, had hired 25 Filipino nurses, but only five were able to start work before the visa retrogression.

Read the story here.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

The kiss kills

A new study on cardiopulmonary resuscitation says that patients who receive mouth-to-mouth breathing during CPR are twice as likely to die than those who receive only chest compressions.

Although the new study is not conclusive enough for CPR instructions to be changed, the study provides new insight on improving the rescue procedures.

Here's a story from Australia's Herald Sun about this new study.
New theory a lifesaver

The current CPR guidelines in Australia require providing two breaths followed by 30 compressions every 15 seconds. In the Philippines, the old guidelines of giving a ratio of two breaths for each 15 compressions is still being taught in schools.

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Review centers for June retakers announced

The government has identified 29 nursing schools which will serve as the review centers for nurse who will retake Test 3 and 5 of the June nursing licensure exams.

Among these schools are eight Centers of Excellence recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). These are the University of the Philippines-Manila (UP-Manila), University of Sto. Tomas in Manila, St. Paul University Philippines, St. Louis University in Baguio City, Silliman University in Dumaguete City, and San Pedro College in Davao, St. Paul University Iloilo, and Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro.

Under a memorandum of agreement signed by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing (ADPCN), each school will provide the physical facilities, and faculty for the review classes.

The government is currently working on an online registration Web site (www.specialnursingreview.dole.gov.ph), although reviewees can also register with the participating schools and with DOLE regional and provincial offices from March 21 to April 4. Each review class will accommodate only 80 to 100 reviewees. The review classes will start on April 16 and end in June 3.

The application fee for the exams has been waived by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) for the retakers.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

// Tips // Administering Potassium Chloride

A one-year old infant died in a Batangas hospital after a student nurse allegedly committed an error in the administration of potassium chloride.

Based on reports, the student nurse allegedly infused potassium chloride to the infant, who was hospitalized due to severe diarrhea, directly through the baby's IV line, instead of mixing it with a saline solution.

Here is a video report (in Filipino) by GMA 7 of the incident:
Child dies due to wrong injection

Potassium chloride, if administered improperly, can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Here are some tips to remember when administering this drug:

Potassium chloride causes an increase in intracellular potassium shifting that is why it is never administered directly into an IV line. Doing so would lead a cardiac arrest. Diluting the drug in normal saline is the recommended administration, if it is being given intravenously, and a pump or controller is used to control its flow. Potassium chloride is never given by bolus infusion because its effects are felt immediately. The recommended concentration for potassium chloride is only 20 to 40 mEq/L or no more than 10 to 20 mEq/hour. The solution containing the potassium chloride is gently turned over to ensure the drug has been diluted well.

Potassium chloride is irritating to the veins so the infusion site is monitered for phlebitis. After infusion, monitor the patient's heart rate and rhythm. If a client is receiving digitalis, potassium chloride increases its toxicity. Administer oral potassium with food or fluid to lessen gastric irritation.

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PGMA allocates P20-M for special voluntary exams of 2006 board of nursing test passers

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has allocated a P20-million budget for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to administer a special voluntary examination this year for the nurses licensed pursuant to the June 2006 Board of Nursing examination.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita announced in his press briefing in Malacanang this afternoon that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 609 on March 12 directing DOLE, acting through the Board of Nursing (BON) and utilizing the administrative processes of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) to administer a special voluntary examination to the nurses who passed the controversy-laden June 2006 BON examination.

The special voluntary examination maybe taken in the June 2007 and December 2007 BON examinations or once at either dates.

"The examination shall be for the equivalent of Tests III and V of the June 2006 BON examination. The results of these tests shall not affect the validity of the licenses previously issued to the voluntary examinees," Ermita said.

He said the nursing examination process will still follow the rules and procedures as provided by the PRC. DOLE will monitor all stages of voluntary examination processes and examination fees will be waived.

E.O. 609 provides that after correction of the special voluntary nursing test, the BON shall report the results only to the DOLE secretary, unlike the previous policy where the nursing board exam result is reported to the PRC. Public announcement of those who passed the tests will be undertaken both by the DOLE and the BON chair.

The Labor department has been authorized to designate special nursing review centers duly recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The President’s directive regarding the tainted 2006 nursing board examination stemmed from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) decision that Philippine nurses licensed pursuant to the BON test of June 2006 shall not be eligible for the grant of VisaScreen certificates.

The CGFNS noted that a retake of and passing the equivalent of Tests III and V of the June 2006 BON examination shall remedy the eligibility problem of the June 2006 BON passers. (Malacanang press release)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

RP gov't inclined to partial retake

The Philippine government is inclined towards conducting a partial retake of the scandal-marred June 2006 examinations instead of a complete retake of the entire test, which an American organization of nurses have asked them to do.

In an interview by the Manila Times, Dante Ang, chairman of the Commission on the Filipino Overseas, said they would likely send a team to the US to meet with officials of the American Nurses Association (ANA), a professional organization of around 12 million registered nurses in the US. Sending a Philippine delegation is currently the option being considered by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in light of ANA's clamor for a full retake. Although ANA is not a regulatory body, it wields significant influence among US legislators, a matter that has some local officials wary of clashing with ANA over the exam retake.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bill that removes cap on nurses immigrating to the US revived


After months of deliberating a comprehensive US immigration reform bill, Sen. Edward Kennedy has decided to bring back an old bill from last session that was adopted by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kennedy hopes to make the bill the starting point for discussions on what the new immigration law should be. Although the original bill underwent major changes before getting the nod of the Senate, the bill took on the same principles of having improved border patrol, electronic worker verification, guest worker program, and a path to legalization and citizenship.

US legislators have had difficulty trying to come up with a new proposal for a comprehensive immigration reform act that will be filed in the Senate because of the complexity of the issue, which has political, economic and social repercussions in the country. Some Internet reports claim that there is an estimaed 12 million illegal immigrants in the US, and they account for about 5%-7% of the country's work force.

The bill also proposed to do away with any numerical visa caps for registered nurses and physical therapists until 2017. The visa caps for employment-based immigrants would go up from 140,000 to 290,000 annually. Spouses and children of principal immigrants would no longer be counted against the numerical cap as well.

Immigration reform has received increased attention in the US recently as hundreds of illegal immigrants have been arrested this past weeks under an intensified crackdown on aliens by US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

Read Sen. Kennedy's press release

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// Tips // US States that no longer require the CGFNS exam

Here's a list of US states whose Boards of Nursing no longer require licensure applicants to take the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Certification Exam. Some of these states still accept the CGFNS certificate but they will also accept alternative screening certifications like the Credentials Evaluation Service. For more detailed information about each state BON and its specific requirements, just google the BON or go to the NSCBN Web site and search for your desired BON from their directory.

List of States:
Oregon / Minnesotta / North Carolina
California / Arkansas / New York
Nevada / Illinois / Vermont
Arizona / Kentucky / New Jersey
Colorado / Ohio / Maryland
New Mexico / Florida / Massachusetts
Kansas / Georgia / Texas / South Carolina
Michigan (New)

If you know a state that should belong to this list, please call our attention.

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// Opinion // English Review Center

Just a quick note on an English review center that helped us study for the TOEFL iBT exam, which we recently passed with flying colors. Here's our way of saying thanks to the people behind the review center, particularly Ms. Cathy.

Speakwell Academy provides helpful tips and valuable lessons when reviewing for IELTS and TOEFL iBT exams. We had our reviews at the QC center, but they also have branches in Makati and Manila.

Here's their QC address:
Unit 400 C-I Delta Bldg, Quezon Ave. cor. West Avenue, Quezon City. Tel.: (632) 412-2758 to 59. Fax (632) 412-2760. E-mail: speakwellacademyqc@yahoo.com.

Before finalizing your application, ask about how you can get a 30% discount, which they offer if you refer another person to them. Please mention you got their contact info from Filipino Nursing Herald (nursingherald.blogspot.com).

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PGH seeks full-time nurses

The Philippine General Hospital (PGH), a leading tertiary government hospital, is accepting applicants for full-time nurse positions.

The PGH, created in 1907, is a tertiary referral center and the teaching hospital of the University of the Philippines. The hospital sits on a 10-hectare lot in the City of Manila, with 45 buildings, 19 clinical departments, and a total of 1500 patient beds.

Interested applicants must contact the PGH Division of Nursing Research and Development (DNRD). Here's a list of requirements. Only original documents are accepted.

1. Accomplished Dean's Form (request this form from the DNRD at the 2F Central Block Bldg, PGH) **The Dean's form requires that you submit a summary with your GWA, RLE grades and class ranking. The form must be signed by your school's registrar or dean.**

2. Transcript of Records
3. Board Rating (with breakdown)
4. Related Learning Experience form (similar to the one nurse exam applicants submit to the Prof. Regulatory Comm. (PRC)
5. Resume with 2x2 photo
6. Current PRC license (photocopy & include back portion)
7. Phil. Nurses Association membership (photocopy & include back portion)

Place above documents in a big brown envelope and submit to the DNRD during office hours (Mon. to Fri. 7am to 3:30pm).



For questions, you may contact DNRD directly (Trunkline: 5218450) or just post comments here and we'll try to answer as much as we can.

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Test retake for June 2006 nursing applicants set

The test retake for nurses who took the June 2006 board exams would be held on June 11 and 12, the government announced this week.

Although a retake is not mandatory for all nurses who took the scandal-ridden June exams, the Commission on Graduates Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) have pressured local authorities into conducting a retake of Part 3 and 5 of the local licensure test for nurses who took the June exams. The CGFNS in a recent ruling said it will not issue a Visascreen certificate, a screening process needed when applying for immigration status in the United States, to nurses that took the scandal-tainted exams if they fail to retake the test.

Local authorities, meanwhile, are still weighing the decision of the American Nurses Association (ANA) which is calling for a full retake of the exams, not just parts 3 and 5. Although the ANA is not a regulatory body in the US unlike the CGFNS, the group is very influential among nursing employers in their country. The organization has a membership of 2.9 million registered nurses belonging to 54 constituent nurse member associations throughout the US.

Review classes for those taking the exam retake are being arranged by the government. Nursing schools that have consistently performed well in the local licensure exams are being tapped to serve as the review centers.

For more information on the ANA announcement regarding its call for a full retake, you may view it here:

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Proposed bill seeks work permits for nurses

A new bill to provide working visas in the US for foreign-born nurses has been recently filed with the US House of Representatives.

This new bill, known as the Nursing Relief Act of 2007, seeks to amend the US Immigration and Nationality Act and create a new nonimmigrant visa category for registered nurses.

Under this bill, which was filed by Arizona Representative John Shedegg last March 6, seeks to create a Nonimmigrant Category for Nurses. Under this new category, nurses can apply for nonimmigrant status, through a lawful US employer, and be able to work in the US for an initial period of 3 years and which can be extended to a maximum of 6 years.

Nurses who avail of this proposed visa category would have the option for permanent residency or adjustment of status filed on their behalf while they are on a nonimmigrant visa. However, this petition must be filed a year or 365 days before their nonimmigrant status expires.

The bill also stipulates that aliens already in the US can have the nonimmigrant status filed on their behalf by an employer, and thus extend their stay in the country. Also, those who go through this process may switch employers (provided they have no contractual obligation), just as long as their new employers file for the same nonimmigrant petition for them.

Spouses, who accompany the nurses under nonimmigrant status, would also be given work permits, based on the proposed legislation.

The HR 1358 seeks to allocate up to 50,000 slots for alien nurses, but this may be increased to 120% of the allocation if the slots were all used up for a given fiscal year. If the allocated number was not consumed within the specified period, then the allocations would remain at the 50,000 level for the succeeding year.

Unlike other visa allocations, the 50,000 would only be given to the principal alien and not to their spouses or children. So, regardless of the number of family members a nurse would be bringing along with him, only one allocated number would be consumed for his application. Out of recaptured 90,000 or 50,000 Schedule A visas last year, only 15,000 was reportedly given to actual nurses. The rest of the allocation was consumed by their accompanying family members.

Follow this link to read a copy of the HR 1358:
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h1358ih.txt.pdf

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// Opinion // All Journeys Start with a Single Step

Over 15,000 Filipino nurses leave the country every year to work abroad, primarily in the United States, the UK and Ireland. Although this number might have gone down last year and maybe even this year because of the retrogression on Schedule A visas in the US, the diaspora is expected to accelerate anew once the US Congress ratifies a new immigration bill that covers the recruitment of nurses into the country.

Some experts are predicting that legislation needed to allow new nurses into the country might come as early as April, while others think October is a more practical target. The more conservative soothsayers believe it might come early next year. Whether it comes tomorrow or the next decade, one thing is certain-- Filipino nurses would be the first to queue at the US immigration office.

The promise of an economically-stable life attracts many Filipino nurses to pursue work abroad. Many veteran nurses have left local hospitals for nursing homes and hospitals in California, Illinois, London, Ireland and the Middle East. Many more perhaps have left their first careers to chase their dreams of becoming nurses and earning in a monetary denomination other than the peso. Even local physicians have exchanged their robes for nursing gowns. Young doctors are not the only ones shifting to nursing, even the veteran doctors are making a go for it. Even those who've already built successful careers locally have made the plunge and in most cases, you'll see them leaving ahead of everyone else because of their financial capabilities and established linkages abroad--whether family or professional networks.

The exit of Filipino doctors and nurses from local medical institutions naturally have taken a toll on the Philippine's healthcare industry. There are various reports stating that a number of hospitals in the provinces have been forced to close down for lack of nurses and physicians. It seems that the search for a better life abroad may have come at a price, one that those left behind are made to pay.

For some nurses, the choice between staying home and working abroad is like choosing between a jump into a ten-foot deep pool and a 100-foot river gorge. Some would rather take the safer jump and be rewarded finanially for their efforts than risking their lives over an uncertain future. On the other hand, those who've decided to stay in the country have their own valid reason too. Although some would cite noble causes for staying, others simply enjoy the comforts they already have here. These comforts--like having family closeby, work environments that they've grown into so well, and the familiarity and warmth of a nation they love--are not easy to come by when one is in a foreign land. The choice is indeed a personal one and when it comes down to personal decisions, it's often difficult to argue what's right and wrong.

Debating whether or not doctors and nurses should stay is not the mission of this site. Neither is igniting a flame war nor putting anyone in a bad light. We're simply here to inform and provide a reliable source of information for nurse wannabes, current nurses and whoever that wants it, even those who've already taken the jump. Expect to see news, compiled from various sources, how-tos, and the occassional personal observations about current issues. We'll also accept contributions, both content and donations (kidding, unless you're really generous). So, we hope you keep coming back to this space and make it your own.

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