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Honoring nurses, and giving new ‘life’ to nursing education

Our country is proud of its nurses. Without them at the frontlines, we wouldn’t be so comfortable (and lucky!) at this time, as they faced the worst of this once-in-a-lifetime health pandemic in 2020. From the onset battling an invisible enemy, they risked their lives and sacrificed time to bring comfort, care, and companionship to the sick. In worst cases, when families were barred from visiting their loved ones due to strict health protocols, it was the touch of a nurse’s hand and assurance in their voice that encouraged the patient to fight on.

They are, and everyone will agree, modern-day heroes. This was further highlighted when a Filipino nurse working in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was honored by Queen Elizabeth II with the prestigious George Cross medal early this week. May Parsons, originally from Pasay, moved to England in 2003. She is the nurse who delivered the shot of the first Covid-19 vaccine in the world in December 2020.

The George Cross recognizes “acts of greatest heroism or the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger.” And on behalf of the NHS, Parsons received the honor, showing how vital and essential the work of nurses in saving lives not only during the pandemic, but on a 24/7 basis.

It is on this same thread that an announcement coming from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) revealed that the 11-year moratorium on new nursing programs was finally lifted. CHED Chairperson Popoy De Vera said the lifting of the moratorium for undergraduate and graduate nursing programs in higher education institutions (HEIs) was done after “a very thorough review and study.”

It could be recalled that in 2011 (Academic Year 2011-2012), CHED declared a moratorium on opening all undergraduate and graduate nursing programs for public and private HEIs. It covered BS Nursing, Master of Nursing, and Ph.D. in Nursing.

At that time, the moratorium was imposed due to the oversupply of graduates with over 200,000 nurses with no jobs. More alarming was the proliferation of HEIs offering substandard nursing programs and the gradual decline in the performance of nursing education graduates in the Nurse Licensure Exams.

Following the lifting of the moratorium, De Vera said qualified HEIs may apply as soon as possible “as long as they comply with all the necessary requirements.”

The timing is appropriate, De Vera said, as the country needs to augment the demand for nurses here and abroad, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) recommended ratio of nurses to the population, which is 24.7 nurses per 10,000 individuals.

Through the years, Filipino nurses have filled vacancies in various hospitals of the world, bringing the Pinoy brand of care for the newborn to the elderly. It is now the right time to regroup once more, allow these schools to assess their capabilities to offer a world-class nursing program, and give the Filipino youth a chance to help their families and earn a decent living by entering the noble nursing profession.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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