A total of 5,957 Philippine-educated nurses seeking to practice their profession in America took the U.S. licensure examination for the first time from January to September this year, a party-list legislator revealed on Friday.
Rep. Michael Defensor of Anakalusugan said the number is up 25 percent compared to the 4,758 Philippine nursing graduates that took the NCLEX for the first time in the same nine month period in 2020, based on figures from the U.S. National Council of State Boards of
The NCLEX, or National Council Licensure Examination, is usually the final step in America’s nurse licensure process.
“We expect a large number of Filipino nurses to aspire to move into America’s labor market in the months ahead because of the irresistible lure of high pay. In California, for instance, a registered nurse receives an average of $120,560 (P6.1 million) per year,” Defensor said.
“Right now, there are thousands of unfilled hospital nursing staff vacancies across America,” Defensor said.
Defensor cited the case of San Diego, California-based nursing agency Aya Healthcare, which has over 55,000 job openings for “travel nurses” needed to fill staffing gaps in more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals for periods of 13 to 26 weeks at a time.
Defensor has been urging Congress to pass House Bill 7933, which seeks to nearly double from P33,575 to P60,901 the starting monthly base pay of nurses employed in Philippine government hospitals.
“We are counting on our measure, once enacted, to help dissuade at least some of our nurses, particularly those with strong ties here at home, from going overseas,” Defensor said.
Under Defensor’s bill that seeks to amend the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, the entry-level pay of government nurses shall be bumped up by six notches to Salary Grade 21.
The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines earlier warned that Filipino nurses have been leaving for overseas jobs in droves, with many hospitals losing up to 10 percent of their nursing staff in October alone.
Some 46 percent of Filipino nurses pass the NCLEX on their first attempt, while around 27 percent of repeaters make the grade.
A total of 218,006 Philippine nursing graduates have taken the NCLEX for the first time since 1994.