Nursing is one of the most sought after professions in the Philippines. The country produces upwards of 40,000 nurses annually, many of whom aspire to work overseas. Around half of that number are able to land career opportunities while the rest stay in the country to make do with local employment and practice. Despite these steadily growing number of nurses, the profession of Nurse Practitionership in the Philippines hasn’t caught on like the US.
Republic Act 9173 (better known as The Philippine Nursing Act) was passed in 2002 and is primarily responsible for the reformation of the practice of nursing in the country. The law repealed Republic Act 7164 (the old Nursing Act of 1991) and set forth new guidelines in the education, post-graduate training, and qualifications of nurses to fit the modern age. However, the law does not include guidelines for Nurse Practitionership which was already a developing profession at the time in the US, Canada, and some states in the EU .
Seventeen years later, there are still no amendments to the law nor any executive move to have the advanced profession institutionalized. Nurses are either unemployed due to an oversupply, underemployed should they stay in the medical field, or ultimately settle for careers completely dissonant from their educational background. An option to pursue further studies (i.e., Nurse Practitionership) could help assuage these employment woes and drastically improve healthcare quality in the country. Despite lobbying from non-goverment organizations to formalize the practice, Nurse Pracitionership is still but a dream to Filipinos.
The country is not entirely bereft of NPs though. There are some institutions such as the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) which employ ‘Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioners’. Albeit one of the most respected institutions, a look into the PHC’s Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioners reveals that these titles do not bear the same standards of practice as would regular Nurse Practitioners. Other institutions have their own forms of NPs who follow specialized educational standards that would not qualify them for other practices — unlike the training set about for the same profession by other countries.
The profession of Nurse Practitionership is non-existent in the Philippines. It is not available in tertiary, graduate, or postgraduate studies and the career may only be availed through overseas education. Nurse Practitioners coming from the US may be able to practice in the Philippines on the caveat that they work in governmental organizations such as military bases or general hospitals. Private practice is currently unregulated and therefore disallowed.
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