Filipino Nurses Seeking US jobs Continue to Decline

MANILA, Philippines—The number of Filipino nurses aspiring to practice their profession in the United States continued to drop year-on-year in the third quarter, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said over the weekend.

In a news release, TUCP secretary-general and former senator Ernesto Herrera said only 2,227 Filipino nurses took the US NCLEX for the first time from July to September, down 38 percent or 1,355 fewer compared to the 3,582 in the same three-month period in 2009.

TUCP now expects some 5,000 fewer Filipino nurses taking the NCLEX the whole of this year, according to Herrera, former chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development.

Thus far, a total of 7,780 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time from January to September, down 35 percent or 4,074 less versus the 11,854 in the same nine-month period last year.

The NCLEX is the licensure exam administered by the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. The number of Filipino nurses taking the test for the first time is a reliable indicator as to how many of them are trying to enter the profession in the US, Herrera said.

A total of 15,382 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time in the whole of 2009, down 5,364 or 26 percent from 20,746 in 2008. All told, since 2005, some 90,000 Filipino nurses have taken the NCLEX for the first time, that is, excluding repeaters.

Despite the decline in the number of Filipinos nurses seeking US employment, Herrera said the Philippines remains America’s largest supplier of new foreign nurses, after India, South Korea, Canada, and Nigeria.

Outside the US, the Philippines is also the United Kingdom’s third biggest supplier of new foreign nurses, after India and Australia.

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