Thursday, May 31, 2007

//Opinion// U.S. immigration reform far from finished

There have been a lot of comments posted on various forums regarding the proposed immigration bill in the U.S. Most of them are from confused and worried nurses who are waiting for the go-ahead to work and live in the U.S.

Although the proposed immigration bill is currently being debated in the U.S Senate, let's not forget that the legislative process is a very long one. Even if the current proposal is approved by Senators, The Lower House has to come up with its own proposals and if they pass a bill that's very different from that passed by the Senate, then it would be tough to reconcile them.

All that we hear and read about today regarding immigration reform are just proposals. The Senate may not even pass the bill that they have today.

So, I see no reason to be all worked up at this time. There's no use getting worried over something that might not even happen. I suggest we use this time of waiting to prepare for the US NCLEX and improve our skills and gain additional work experience. Then when a final law eventually comes out of the U.S., then that's the time to evaluate our options and to act accordingly.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

//News// Work-related stress hurts nurses' sex lives

A poll of nurses revealed that work-related stress is harming the sex lives of nurses in the U.K.

The survey, which was conducted by the Nursing Times in London, also found that work-related stress had caused both physical and emotional problems for nurses.

Almost 2,000 nurses were polled for the study. About 70% of the respondents said that work-related stress was affecting their physical and emotional health. About 44% said their sex life was affected, while 25% said they had started drinking more.

The study also showed that about 30% of the nurses were getting sick more than usual and one in 10 nurses were smoking more due to stress.

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//News// U.S. House may throw out immigration reform

A Washington newspaper reported that the U.S. House of Representatives may throw out the proposed immigration reform bill currently being debated in the U.S. Senate using a technicality.

Under the proposed immigration bill, illegal aliens in the U.S. would be considered for a Z visa to be able to live and work in the country, but only after meeting a number of requirements, including paying back taxes.

Based on congressional rules, any bill that is related to revenue genration must originate from the Lower House and not the Senate. Some congressmen reportedly will use this procedural rule to trash the proposed bill once it arrives in the House.

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//Tips// Salary list for U.S. careers

Found an interesting article by Sarah Clark, who compiled a short list of careers and matching salaries in the U.S. The figures quoted are simply meant to give a rough picture of the job market and they are obviously only estimates of real salaries, which would differ from company to company and from state to state:

Business Salaries
Accountants and auditors $56,880
Financial analysts $70,500
Human resources managers $87,580
Marketing managers $96,680

Culinary Salaries
Cooks - private household $22,530
Manager of food preparation and serving workers $27,480
Chefs and head cooks $34,160
Food service managers $35,790 (in 2002)

Nursing Salaries
Home health aides $18,980
Nursing aides, orderlies, attendants $21,610
Licensed practical nurse (LPN) $31,440 (in 2002)
Registered nurses $54,210

Multimedia Design Salaries
Set and exhibit designers $40,000
Film and video editors $50,690
Multimedia artists and animators $57,520
Art directors $73,240

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//Opinion//Immigration reform Q&A

Here's an interesting Question & Answer feature by the Associated Press. The Q&A clarifies some of the complex issues related to the current immigration reform being proposed in the US Congress.

To summarize some of the points raised in the Q&A:
* The bill is still far from being a law. It has to go through several processes first.
* Illegal immigrants in the U.S. would be given permits to live and work in the country after completing a registration process. They can only apply for citizenship after paying finex, backtaxes, passing security checks and returning to their home countries.
* Petitions for family members of US immigrants who applied before May 2005 would still be processed. Beyond that, the US will no longer accept petitions for family mebers, except if they go through the merit/point system that will evaluate applicants based on education and skills.
* Temporary workers will be allowed to work in the US but they can only stay for a maximum of six years. They can not apply for citizenship unless they apply through the point system.

Read the rest of the Q&A by clicking this link.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

//News//Japan keen on increasing immigrants

The Japanese government is keen on increasing the number of skilled workers immigrating to the country. Faced with an aging population, Japan needs to fill up its dwindling labor pool fast.

Although the Japanese government allowed 1,000 nurses to come to work in the country, Philippine legislators failed to approve the plan. One of stumbling block to the plan is the examination that workers must take in the Japanese language.

A key economic panel in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration is proposing to increase the number of students allowed in the country as a way of attracting more workers.

Read more about this news from Bloomberg.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

//News//Legislators Approve Guest Worker Program; Cuts Visa Allocation

U.S. Senators on Wednesday voted to include the guest worker program in the proposed Border Security and Immigration Reform Act but not before cutting the number of visa allocation from 400,000 to 200,000 per year.

In a 74-24 vote, the Senate also voted a provision that bars any adjustment to the guest worker visa allocation regardless of job demand.

Senators also approved other amendments including raising border security personnel from 18,000 to 20,000; increasing the U.S.-Mexico fence from 200 to 300 miles; and expanding detention facilities to accommodate 31,500 detainees, up from 27,500 as earlier proposed.

Other amendments, including those related to family petitioning, will be taken up in the next few days.

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Quick Link

Just claiming my blog in Technorati. Technorati Profile

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

//News//Nurses may be placed under temporary worker visa

Nurses may be placed under the proposed "Z" visa category for temporary workers, a top U.S. government official said.

The temporary worker visa is part of the proposed immigration reform bill currently being discussed in the U.S. Senate. The work visa will allow immigrants to be employed in the U.S. for two years and renew for another two years. Workers must leave the country for a year before they can be renewed.

Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, said workers can apply for a permanent green but they will have to be evaluated under a merit system where points will be awarded based on education, skill, experience and their ability to speak English.

"Most of the green cards that will exist after we clear the backlog - and there will be about 400,000 - most - those will be based on a merit system, with most weight going to education, employment, experience in the U.S.," Chertoff said.

"If you've been a temporary worker, that's going to count for a lot. If you're in a field where there is a need, like the health care field, that's going to give you points. And family will come in - can be kind of a tie-breaker, but it's not going to be a basis to overwhelm the other merit-based system," he added.

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//News//Immigration bill delayed

The U.S. Senate decided to delay a final action on the proposed immigration reform bill until next month.

The move is intended to give more time to legislators who still can't agree on several provisions included in the immigration proposal.

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//Opinion// Waiting for immigration reform

Trying to get a feel of what the U.S. congress would do concerning immigration reform is as difficult as predicting the weather. Although there are signs and signals that the U.S. would finally pass a sweeping immigration law, there's no assurance that a new law will get passed or that the new law will be favorable to immigrants and workers.

Filipino nurses, trapped out by the retrogression of visas, are anxiously waiting for the outcome of these congressional debates. A new immigration act will definitely impact new nurses wishing to immigrate to the U.S.

Although several provisions of the proposed immigration bill has been leaked out, the final text of the bill has not been released. So, whether nurses will be included in the proposed "Z" visa for temporary workers is still a big question mark. The probability of that happening, however, is pretty high, considering that there are no news whatsoever hinting that a separate visa for nurses and physical therapists would be created. Of course, like I said earlier, it's difficult to predict what the final bill would look like.

The U.S. congress has only started to tackle the proposals on the floor and there's still a long way to go until we see the outcome. Everyone is hoping a new immigrant act would have been signed into law by August or at least before the end of the year. If it goes beyond that, then we might not see another similar initiative in two years.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

//News// U.S. Senate reaches compromise on immigration reform

A bipartisan group of senators announced a compromise deal on the proposed immigration reform bill in the U.S.

The proposal, reached Thursday, seeks to give illegal immigrants already in the U.S. a probationary permit to live and work in the country. hey may eventually be given a path to citizenship but only after border security has been improved. The compromise deal also requires punitive policies against employers who willingly hire illegal immigrants.

The proposal also creates a temporary worker program and a separate program for agricultural workers. Low skilled workers would be allowed to work for two years but they can renew their visa twice. However, they must leave for a period of one year in-between renewals. They may apply for permanent immigration, but they would be evaluated based on points for their skills and education level.

The plan seeks stricter rules for petitioning family members, except for spouses and children. Under the proposal, there will be stricter quotas for petitioning parents and siblings.

The Senate needs to vote on the proposed bill, the text of which is expected to be avialable in the following days. Deliberations are set to start on Monday.

Members of the Lower House had earlier said they will follow the Senate's lead on immigration policies, but it will have to approve its own version of the bill before final approval by U.S. President Geoge Bush.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

//News// EB3 visa processing progresses to June 2005

The U.S. Department of State announced in its latest bulletin that processing for visa applications under the Employment-based category 3 (EB3) has progressed to June 2005.

In May, the visa category was stuck at Aug 2003.

Retrogressed workers such as nurses and physical therapists belong to the EB3 category. Based on the the June bulletin, applicants whose I-140 forms were filed before June 2005 may still be assigned visa numbers.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

//Tips// Avoiding medication errors

Medication errors are more common than most nurses would believe or much less admit. But in the real world it is perhaps one of the leading reasons for nurses losing their licenses, at the very least, or causing irreparable damage to a client's health, at the very worse.

With the hope of reducing the number of medication errors committed by nurses, we're offering some tips to remember in safe medication administration.

Transdermal drug patch overdose

Transdermal drug patch overdose occurs more commonly because of one of two reason, either a patient forgets to mention the use of transdermal patch at home or the nurse applies a new patch without removing a previous one.

To avoid drug overdose in the use of transdermal patches, here are some sugestions culled from

* Include removal of an existing patch on the Medication Administration Record (MAR).
* Ask the patient if he or she has any patches on and where they are located.
* Never assume a patch has fallen off.
* Include a question about non-oral medications during medication reconciliation.
* Apply an additional, more noticeable label to a clear patch.
*Document removal of one-time use patches on the MAR.

10 drugs in med errors

Here is a list of automated dispensing cabinet drugs commonly involved in medication errors. Study the proper administration of these drugs:

1. morphine
2. heparin
3. oxycodone
4. diltiazem
5. ketorolac
6. meperidine
7. dopamine
8. hetastarch
9. methylergonovine
10. promethazine

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//News// US Congress prepares to tackle immigration issue

The US congress is preparing to tackle immigration reform next week, with both Republican and Democrat legislators looking to find a compromise in the issue that will determine the fate of over 12 million illegal US immigrants and millions more looking to work in the country.

US President Bush gave five key points for the debate set to begin on Monday. Bush said the US must: keep trying to improve border security; hold employers accountable for the workers they hire; create a temporary worker program; resolve the status of millions of illegal immigrants already in the US "without amnesty and without animosity;" and "finally, we must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot."

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

//News//Outline of immigration reform bill emerges

Less than a week before debates on immigration reform start in the Senate, a possible outline of the proposed immigration bill has emerged.

Republican Senator Arlen Specter said the proposed bill would delay implementation of a guest-worker program and leave out any amnesty program for illegal immigrants until the US strengthens its borders and implement electronic security measures to counter identity fraud.

"We have come to an agreement on what we have called a, quote, 'grand bargain,' unquote, which is the outline of an immigration bill," Specter told AFP.

The final text of the proposed bill is still being worked out.

Senate deliberations on the proposed immigration reform act is expected to start on Monday, May 14.

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//News// Senator pledges May 14 start for immigration debate

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said immigration debates will start on Monday, according to a report by the Washington Times.

Reid, who earlier accused Republicans of delaying the immigration debate, pledged that the immigration debate will start on Monday. The senator is reportedly eyeing a parliamentary maneuver that will force the immigration debate on the Senate floor.

Democrat Sen. Edward M. Kennedy is leading a team composed of White House executives and Republican legislators to come up with a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Talks have been held mostly in closed quarters, and there are no signs that a bill is already ready.

Meanwhile a group composed of Christian leaders in the U.S. have started a campaign in support of immigration reform in the country. The group is composed of more than 100 members from evangelical, mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Hispanic and black religious and social-service groups and activists.

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//News// Oklahoma signs immigration bill

The Federal State of Oklahoma passed an immigration bill that seeks to prevent illegal immigrants from finding work across the state.

The new legislation is a stopgap measure to deal with illegal immigration until the U.S. Congress comes up with a comprehensive immigration reform law, said Gov. Brad Henry of Oklahoma.

Under the new immigration law, government and public agencies must verify a job applicant's citizenship and immigration status before employment. It also provides for a screening process that will ensure that an applicant's social security number matches his identity.

The bill does not prevent illegal immigrants from seeking emergency health services or enroling in public schools.

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//News// US seeks hike in immigration fees

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) has proposed new fees for immigration-related applications with an average of more 66% over current fees.

Among these applications include family petitioning, which would increase from $190 to $320; permanent residency for foreign workers, from $195 to $475; and adjustment of status, from $325 to $905.

A short summary of the pay hike goes:
I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) from $190 to $320
I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) from $190 to $355
I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) from $325 to $905
I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) from $195 to $475
N-400 (Application for Naturalization) from $330 to $595

To learn more about the visa application types and to get a complete list of the new proposed fees, you may download the official proposal from the USCIS as published in the Federal Register by clicking this link. The explanation of visa application types is on page 4 of this PDF document, while the proposed fees are on page 24.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

//News// ANA eases position on June retakers

The American Nurses Association, an organization of registered nurses in the U.S., has eased its position on June 2006 exam retakers.

In an e-mail, the ANA said it will abide by the decision of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to accept a retake of test 3 and 5 of the compromised June nursing licensure exams.

In the e-mail, posted in the forum, ANA said a successful score in Test 3 and 5 of the exams, along with the completion of other U.S. licensure requirements would be sufficient for any of the affected June board passers to work in the U.S.

"The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools has agreed to accept tests 3 and 5 for purposes of the prescreening. Given this, you are only required to retake tests 3 and 5. While ANA would have preferred a different outcome, retaking tests 3 and 5, plus meeting the other licensure and visa requirements is all that you need to do to work in the United States as a registered nurse," the e-mail read.

Earlier, ANA called on the Philippine government to conduct a full retake of the compromised June exams, despite an announcement by CGFNS that a retake of test 3 and 5 would be sufficient.

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Monday, May 7, 2007

//News// Senate immigration debate set May 14

US Democratic leaders have pledged to start immigration debates on the Senate floor on May 14, but with a week remaining and political leaders and congressmen continuing to argue over what should be included in the immigration bill, it is unclear if the deadline will be met.

Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House Speaker, reportedly will only allow immigration debates on the floor if there is support from at least 60 Republicans.

US President Bush last week reiterated a call to push immigration reform legislation, saying that he will work with both Democrat and Republican legislators to get a new bill passed.

The movement towards a comprehensive reform act is crucial to resolving the retrogression affecting Schedule A occupations, including nurses and therapists. The outcome of debates on immigration reform will determine if the retrogression will be resolved through the new immigration law or if a bridge program that would recapture unused visas would still be needed.

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//News// May 1 violence condemned

The violent clash between pro-immigration marchers and policemen on May 1 has caused public outrage throughout the U.S.

Shortly after the incident, workers' union officials, state congressmen, and L.A. city officials condemned the violence and called for an investigation into the event that saw police shooting rubber bullets and swinging batons against marchers, journalists, and even young children. An FBI civil rights agency has also initiated its own inquiry.

The May 1 rally was intended to drum up support for immigration reform legislation, but police started clashing with demonstrators after they claimed they were pelted with rocks and bottles. The city's police chief said members of the Metro Division that clashed with the marchers have been taken off the streets while an investigation is being conducted.

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

//News// PRC extends deadline for first-time nurse examinees

The Professional Regulation Commission has extended the Filing for Application for first-time applicants in the June 2007 Nursing Licensure Examinations from May 11 (Friday) to May 15 (Tuesday).

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//Resources// Notes on OB & Maternity Nursing

I've uploaded my notes on OB and maternity nursing. I hope you can find this useful. To download this file, simply click here. As always, the file is in Adobe PDF format. Let me know if you have problems downloading the file.


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Friday, May 4, 2007

//News// May 1 rally attract fewer people

Thousands took the streets across the United States of America in support of immigration reforms, but the turnout was smaller than similar rallies staged last year.

Unlike last year when illegal immigrants boldly joined rallies, wearing T-shirts that say, "I'm Illegal. So what?", fewer people came out this year for fear of actions from the immigration and customs enforcement (ICE).

Immigration advocates are still hopeful, however, that the momentum of current political efforts would lead to a new legislation before the hurly-burly of the US presidential elections take center stage next year.

Ongoing discussions among politicians have bogged down over the issue concerning family petitioning. The proposed immigration bill seems to be leaning towards the removal of a provision that allows immigrant workers to petition their families.

Although immigration issues are dividing groups of people in the U.S., a new law could come in August. President Bush wants immigration reform as his legacy so it is certain that things are moving forward. Towards which direction, however, is still unclear.

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