Lift the TRO, parents of S. Mindanao nurse board passers appeal

"We are asking the Court of Appeals to lift the temporary restraining order to allow the passers of the June 2006 nursing board examinations to take oath," said Reuben Baldoza, spokesman of the parents, who read the group’s manifesto in a press conference here today.


The parents, in seeking a lifting of the 60-day TRO, are pushing for a “no retake” stand on the issue.


The parents condemned the leakage of two parts of the board exams and claimed it did not reach examinees in this city, as well as those in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga. The exam questions were reportedly leaked on the first day of the two-day board exams.


An estimated 2,800 nursing graduates from Southeastern Mindanao passed the controversial exam conducted June 11 and 12. A total of 17,821 out of 42,006 examinees nationwide passed the June exam.


The parents sought for the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) to stand by its release of the exam results and to proceed with the issuance of the board passers' license.


The CA issued the TRO on Aug. 18 for the PRC and the Board of Nursing to "to cease and desist from … proceeding with the oath-taking allegedly scheduled on Aug. 22, 2006."


The parents called for the filing of appropriate legal action against the persons who provided, distributed and obtained the leakage.


"They mocked the integrity of the examination and tainted the dignity of the nursing profession," the manifesto read.


"Issue the license to our children so they could finally work after painstakingly training and reviewing for their licensure," said one of the parents, herself a nurse.


The parents asserted that their children graduated from "known and competent" nursing schools.


The manifesto listed the efforts of the board passers to study lessons, pass requirements, do clinical exposure, take written examinations, review for the licensure exams, line up to apply for the exams and other rigors.


"Our children have worked for it. We, the parents, have also worked hard to support them more than the financial needs. Expenses can later be recovered, but not the emotional stress," said Cora Alejandro.


The parents said they support their children not only with finances but also moral and spiritual boost as they quest for justice, equity and fair play in their sacrifices caused by the controversy.


They also called on hospitals, nursing schools, and other employment firms to treat their children fairly when they apply for jobs.


There were reports that many employers have turned down nurse applicants who passed the June 2006 board exams.


"The examination is not the only measure of their competency as nurses. The four years of academic training and clinical experience they had can boost their competence rather than the 390 questions considered by the PRC," the parents said in the manifesto.


They also called on the Philippine Nurses Association to support the "no retake" position. The PNA earlier called for the nullification of the board exams, requiring the board passers to retake in December.


Dr. Roberto Palec, PNA board of governors' corporate secretary, said they have changed their stand after a referendum on Aug. 23, a day after the scheduled oath-taking.


"We are now standing for a no retake position after a referendum with our members nationwide," Palec said.


Palec said he believed that the board passers are still competent nurses because the competencies required of them were spread in the other items of the exams.


Parents and the academe at the press conference estimated the cost of sending a nursing student to school from entrance to licensure within the range of P250,000 to P500,000.


Palec said despite the board exams controversy, the demand for Filipino nurses is still high abroad.


A nurse in the Philippines could earn an entrance salary of P10,000. In the United States, a new nurse would be paid at an average of P470,000 a month.


He said an average of 8,000 to 10,000 nurses leave the country for overseas contracts every year.