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Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday lauded the decision of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) to move the nursing licensure examination (NLE) to an earlier date.

In a statement, he said this will give fresh graduates who will pass the test, the chance to immediately augment healthcare professionals combating the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Go said there is a necessity to augment the front-liners as temporary medical facilities in the country need to increase the number of healthcare workers (HCW) who will take care of Covid-19 patients.

The PRC announced that the May 2021 NLE schedule, which was previously rescheduled to November 2021, will now push through on July 3-4.

The NLE was initially moved to November 2021 due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in the country, which could jeopardize the safety of future nurses and the PRC staff who will act as proctors.

Meanwhile, the National Task Force Recovery Cluster agreed to include PRC frontline personnel in the A4 priority group under the national framework for vaccination rollout.

Go earlier appealed for this, seeing PRC personnel as one important front-line sector giving competitive examinations to HCWs.

“Maituturing dapat na essential workers ang mga miyembro ng PRC na nagsasagawa ng mga professional board exams. Kung protektado sila dahil sa bakuna, mas makakapagtrabaho sila ng maayos para hindi maantala ang mga kailangan ng ating mga kababayan para sa kanilang mga propesyon (Members of the PRC who conduct professional board exams should be considered essential workers. If they are protected by the vaccine, they will be able to work better so as not to delay the needs of our countrymen for their professions), he said.

In a letter addressed to the Senate Committee on Health chaired by Go, the PRC then requested assistance to have its front-liners, members of Professional Regulatory Boards and other personnel of the agency, included in the vaccination program.

The letter stated their sector has been constantly exposed to Covid-19 due to the nature of their work.

Go pushed and supported PRC’s request, citing the crucial role of the agency in supporting and promoting the welfare of the country’s professionals.

“Limitado po ang galaw natin ngayon upang mapigilan ang lalong pagkalat ng COVID-19. Ngunit kailangan rin natin ikonsidera ang mga pangangailangan sa propesyon ng ating mga kababayan na maaaring mawalan ng kabuhayan kung patuloy na maaantala ang mga operasyon ng PRC (Our movement is limited now due to our effort to prevent further spread of Covid-19. But we also need to consider the professional needs of our countrymen who may lose their livelihood if PRC operations continue to be delayed),” he said.

Go also asked authorities to study further the possible inclusion of future health professionals or pre-board nursing graduates in the vaccination priority list, particularly those who are scheduled to take their licensure exams this year, without prejudice to already identified priority sectors and depending on the scheduled availability of additional vaccine doses.

“Our doctors, nurses and health workers have been struggling already. We need to augment their number. Many of them have graduated and only need to pass the board exam to become full-fledged health professionals,” he said in Filipino.

The senator cited the need to take immediate steps to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in the country amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Go filed in July 2019 Senate Bill No. 395, also known as the “Advanced Nursing Education Act of 2019” which seeks to protect and improve the nursing profession by instituting measures that will result in relevant nursing education, humane working conditions, better career prospects and a dignified existence for nurses.

The 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 of higher learning. (PNA)

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