The Senate Committee on Civil Service has started taking up the proposed measure seeking to improve nursing education in the country.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go filed Senate Bill No. 395, also known as the “Advanced Nursing Education Act of 2019” which seeks to improve the nursing profession by instituting measures that will result in relevant nursing education, humane working conditions, and better career prospects for Filipino nurses.
In a speech on Thursday, January 27, Go highlights heroism and contributions of Filipino nurses both in the country and abroad, particularly amid the pandemic. He also expressed his sincere gratitude to the Committee for taking up the bill.
“Napakaimportante po ng measure na ito upang mas lalong paigtingin ang nursing education program sa ating bansa,” said Go.
He noted that Filipino nurses, due to their competence and caring nature, are sought-after even in other countries, thus contributing significantly to the Philippine economy.
“Kilala po ang mga Filipino nurses dahil po sa likas na kakayahan, kalinga, at malasakit na ipinapakita ng mga Pilipino sa kapwa tao. Sa totoo lang po, halos lahat po ng pamilya ay may contribution – at least, may nurse talaga sa pamilya. Even ako, halos sa pamilya natin – pinsan, kapatid – mayroon talagang nurse,” said Go.
“At dahil nga po mahusay ang ating mga kababayan, lalong tumataas ang demand para sa Filipino nurses sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo. Ito po ang dahilan kung bakit napakalaki ang nagiging ambag ng Filipino nurses sa ating ekonomiya,” he added.
Go then reiterated the need for a more standardized and advanced nursing education program that will establish a solid foundation for the country’s nurses to enable them to become more competent and gain better career opportunities.
“Bagama’t hinahanap-hanap ng mga dayuhan ang magagandang katangian ng ating Filipino nurses, yung nursing education program po natin ay maaari pang ma-improve dahil naka-focus lang ito sa ‘bare minimum’ o pag-produce ng graduates na agarang ipapadala abroad o isasabak sa iba’t ibang mga lokal na ospital,” said Go.
“Sa ngayon, walang oportunidad ang mga Filipino nurses para palawakin ang kanilang kakayahan at kaalaman upang maging dalubhasa sa kanilang napiling propesyon,” he continued.
Go’s proposed measure will require the establishment of standard basic and graduate programs for nursing education, to be established in Commission on Higher Education-accredited institutions.
Under the basic program, students will be mandated to undergo community integration and immersion to encourage them to work in various communities.
Meanwhile, a graduate program will be built on the experiences and skills of the nurses towards mastery, expertise and leadership in practice, research and education.
The faculty-to-student ratio will also be in accordance with the standards to be determined by CHED. The aspiring nurses will also have to pass a National Nursing Admission Test to ensure the quality of students getting in the program.
“This is indeed very timely as our country and the entire world struggle to strengthen the medical frontliners amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Go.
He added that the measure will also benefit the entire healthcare system. With more competent nurses manning the hospitals, Go said that patients can rest easy knowing that they are being provided with the best medical care possible.
“Not only this, even the families of the patients will feel more at ease knowing that their loved ones will receive care from highly trained nurses,” he noted.
“Kapakanan po ng ating mga nurses at ng ating mga mamamayan ang ating tanging layunin. Once we pass this important measure, there is no question that our nurses, patients and society, as a whole, will reap the fruits of our efforts,” added Go.
Ending his speech, Go thanked the nurses and all medical frontliners for their contributions and sacrifices in the fight against COVID-19. He also asked them to continue taking good care of their patients as he pledged his continuing support for them.
“At isisingit ko na lang po, sa lahat po ng ating mga healthcare workers, of course nurses, kayo po yung mga frontliners, maraming salamat po sa inyong sakripisyo sa panahon ngayon. Kayo naman po ang nakakaalam sa laban na ito,” said Go.
“Pakiusap ko lang po sa inyo, tulungan po natin ang ating mga kababayan, especially po yung mga pasyente. Huwag po nating pabayaan. Kami naman po dito sa Senado, mga trabahante po sa gobyerno, ay handang sumuporta sa inyo sa abot ng aming makakaya at ipaglalaban po namin. Dapat ibigay po sa inyo kung ano ang nararapat na para po sa inyo,” he concluded.
In 2019, Go was instrumental in the passage of Republic Act No. 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law 5 as its author and co-sponsor. The law gives civilian government employees, including nurses, another round of salary increases broken down in tranches.
In the same year, he also ensured enough funding was allotted for the implementation of a Supreme Court decision upholding Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 some 18 years after the law was enacted. The law increases the minimum salary grade of the Nurse I position to SG-15. The ruling was implemented the following year.
Throughout the pandemic, Go has also been aggressively promoting the interests and protecting the welfare of medical frontliners. He had successfully pushed for free COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, hazard pay, and special risk allowances for health workers at the onset of the outbreak.
“Noong Martes, naipasa rin sa second reading sa Senado ang Senate Bill 2421 na naglalayong patuloy na makapagbigay ng allowance, compensation package at iba pang benepisyo para sa ating mga public at private healthcare workers na nakikipagbakbakan sa COVID-19. Isa ako sa mga author at co-sponsor nito. Bahagi ito ng ating suporta, pasasalamat at pagkilala sa kanilang dakilang sakripisyo bilang mga frontliners sa kasalukuyang pandemya,” Go also noted.