Filipino nurses still welcome in New Zealand - DFA

Despite reports of discrimination, Filipino nurses are still welcome to work in New Zealand, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

An article on the DFA website ( said the assurance came from officials of the New Zealand Nursing Council led by Chief Executive Carolyn Reed and Registration Manager Andrea McCance.

The council executives met with Director J. Susana Paez of the DFA’s Asian and Pacific Affairs, Director Eric Gerardo Tamayo of the Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations, as well Dr. Teresita Barcelo, president of the Philippine Colleges of Nursing (ADPCN).

During the meeting, they expressed regret at the confusion brought about by “erroneous” media reporting which questioned the competence of Filipino nurses.

According to the DFA, Reed said the remarks were made by other parties who are not connected with the New Zealand Nursing Council or the New Zealand government.

The executives also met separately with officials of the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Bienvenido Tejano suggested the visit in response to the council’s expression of desire to undertake consultations with their Philippine counterparts, the DFA report said.

Filipinos constitute the second largest number of foreign nurses in New Zealand, with about 200 nurses registered every year.

McCance stressed that the Nursing Council has been making it less complicated for qualified foreign nurses to come to New Zealand.

Steps they have taken include providing complete information in its website and staggering the completion requirement of completing seven bands under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) which include the option of taking the IELTS in the country of origin.

Low failure rate

Also, the Council officials cited a very low failure rate in the required competency assessment program, and observed that Filipino nurse candidates are able to successfully hurdle the prescribed bridging program.

The Nursing Council clarified that the issuance of residency visas is beyond the scope of their work, but a foreign nurse registered with them will present such registration in support of a separate proper residency status application with New Zealand immigration authorities.

It also encourages direct applications rather than coursing registration via recruitment agencies.

Meanwhile, the visiting council representatives were briefed on the role of the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) and presented the Philippines’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing curriculum and the educational standards for registered nurses in the Philippines.

Reed said the meetings facilitated their understanding of the Philippine nursing program for purposes of matching course requirements.

The DFA encouraged the Nursing Council, PNA and ADPCN to pursue and adopt a practice done with other countries of having school registrars identify and match subjects with foreign government requirements on the applicant’s transcript of records.

This would also facilitate the evaluation of individuals who will practice nursing in New Zealand and that they are indeed International Qualified Nurses (IQN) suitable for the country’s healthcare standards.

“The meeting’s outcome assures an open line of communication between the council and the nurses sector in the Philippines, and augurs well for better opportunities for Filipino nurses and the adoption of relevant programs to further uplift the nursing profession in the country,” the DFA said. - via GMANews.TV

1st batch of JPEPA nurses off to Japan this week

By Raymund F. Antonino
The first batch of nurses and caregivers who have been hired under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) are ready to be deployed to Japan this weekend, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said Tuesday.

POEA Administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili said some 358 nurses and caregivers have been given employment and training opportunities in Japan although that country is in recession at this time.

“The nurses and caregiver candidates for Japan will leave the country either on May 8 or May 9. They had reported to the POEA for contract signing and already submitted their respective requirements,” she said.

However, the number of recruited medical workers declined from the supposed annual target of 500 after some hospitals and nursing care facilities there reduced costs due to the global financial crisis, she added.

“Those applicants who did not make it but are pre-qualified can join the second batch of nurses and caregivers to be deployed next year,” Manalili said.

Under the agreement, the skills of local nurses and caregivers are matched by JICWELS (Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services) to the manpower requirements of hospitals in that country. The Filipinos also have to take language training courses for a half a year prior to their actual work.

During the training, the candidates who are covered by a job contract will receive allowances of not less than 40,000 yen or more than P21,000 per month. Their employer or the Japanese government will shoulder their travel costs apart from the onsite training expenses.

Manalili said the salaries of the newly hired Filipino nurses and caregivers are equivalent to the pay of their Japanese counterparts with similar tasks.

The POEA will commence the recruitment of another batch of 200 Filipino nurses and 300 caregivers for Japan under the JPEPA by 2010.

Pinoy nurses rally to save jobs, hospital in US

By Henni Espinosa
Filipino nurses are now fighting to save not only their jobs but also the hospital where they work in California.

The nurses rallied in front of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Office in Oakland, last Tuesday to protest the closure of San Leandro Hospital where they worked.

“I work here for five days full time and I don’t have any other work so it’s going to affect me and my family,” said Filipino nurse Mildred Causing.

More than half of the 250 nurses at the hospital are Filipino.

“Kahit registered nurse ngayon mahihirapan pa din humanap ng trabaho dahil marami ang uninsured at sa palagay ko mahina ang bayad ng medical, medicare sa mga hospital,” said another Filipina nurse Dolorita Malixi.

The nurses said they want to save San Leandro Hospital because it is the only fully-functioning acute care hospital in the area.

“If we are not there then where will those people go?” said Betty Micu.

The California Nurses Association which represents the nurses accused Sutter Health of closing hospitals in medically underserved areas.

“I think this is Sutter’s modus operandi they come in and they purchase the hospital and they make promises to the community that they’ll make services open and they almost immediately start to plan how to close services in areas that have less insured patients, the underserved areas in favor of building up in areas where people are more affluent,” said the association’s spokesperson Jan Rodolfo. 

According to reports, Sutter said that in the month of February alone the hospital lost US$1.5 million. Sutter said that while it is still evaluating the hospital’s financial health, it said it’s clear that they cannot offer the services they do right now and stay in business.

Sutter plan to close the hospital on June 30.

Nurses’ Supporting Role in Law and Order


WHEN it comes to solving crimes, images of detectives, police officers and scientists often come to mind. But nurses, too, play a critical role in the criminal justice system, and they can make good money doing so. 

Nurses with forensic training may gather data at accident sites and in other situations where crimes may have occurred or medical evidence needs to be collected. They may also testify in court cases and help lawyers understand medical records — often for medical malpractice cases.

Some nurses with this training start a business as legal nurse consultants, and still others become coroners, completing work like that of medical examiners, who hold doctor of medicine degrees. Some continue their regular nursing work and do forensic work part time.

Holly Bedgio has run a business as a legal nurse consultant for 10 years. In addition to her job as director of clinical operations and risk management for Matrix Home Care in West Palm Beach, Fla., she works with a dozen law firms around the country, helping lawyers decide whether to take a case, for example, or identifying who shares the blame in a wrongful death suit. 

“I love that no two cases are alike,” Ms. Bedgio said. The lawyers often don’t brief her before she reads case files so as not to influence her findings. “It’s like reading a mystery novel. You have to put the pieces of the puzzle together to solve the case,” she said.

As coroner for Charleston County in South Carolina, Rae Wooten draws on 30 years of experience and training as a nurse. Her forensics skills include how to identify evidence in a death investigation as well as how to interview witnesses and suspects.

“I’m a fact-finder. I investigate deaths, including homicides, fatalities from traffic accidents, those that are fire-related, and those that initially are unexplained, unexpected or suspicious,” Ms. Wooten said. She assesses the state of the body, takes photos, orders autopsies, and works with law enforcement to determine the cause of death. 

Nurses have long performed various forensic services, but over the years the skills have become codified under the umbrella of forensic nursing. 

“You’ll hear the title ‘forensic nurse,’ but that can be misleading, as if it covers one area,” said Julie Rosof-Williams, course coordinator for the forensic nursing program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “To identify someone as a forensic nurse is not comparable to saying, for example, that someone is a pediatric nurse, which indicates the person works solely with children.” 

The field has drawn interest from nurses at several levels, including licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. As a result, in the last decade or so masters and doctoral degree programs have proliferated to provide training.

For example, in 2004 the School of Nursing at Vanderbilt University began offering forensic nursing as a minor in the masters of nursing program. Several private educational providers also offer forensic nursing courses. 

Carey Goryl, executive director of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, says that it is important to research any educational provider. “Potential employers and even some state nursing licensing boards may not recognize all the forensic courses that are available,” Ms. Goryl said. “Nurses who have a particular employer in mind should contact them first and find out which educational provider is acceptable for that forensic program.” 

The salaries for nurses with this training vary widely, said Ms. Rosof-Williams, depending on specialty, local market rates, degree and experience. 

As president of the South Florida chapter of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants, Ms. Bedgio is familiar with salaries in her specialty. It’s not uncommon for a legal nurse consultant working full-time to make six figures, but it takes a while to get started, she said. In her experience, a legal nurse consultant can make between $100 and $150 an hour.

Certification can also be an issue. “A certificate program can give a general background, but if nurses want to practice with a specific population, such as sexual assault patients, they need specialized training, such as provided by a 40-hour sexual assault nurse examiner, or SANE, course,” Ms. Goryl said. 

The forensic nursing association offers two board certifications for sexual assault nurse examiners, for nurses who want to work either with children, or adolescents and adults. The organization has also teamed with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association, to provide additional credentials. 

MS. ROSOF-WILLIAMS also works at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine and at Our Kids Center, a clinic of Metropolitan Nashville General Hospital. She serves as a sexual assault nurse examiner at the center, supporting and collecting evidence from children who may have been sexually assaulted. As part of her job, she has also testified in court cases involving those children. 

Ms. Rosof-Williams describes her specialty with enthusiasm. “As a sexual assault nurse examiner, I have the opportunity to get involved in direct patient care and help people heal from some of the worst situations ever,” she said. “Not only do I get the reward of helping patients, I also get rewarded when other health care providers say: ‘Please do this. You’re the expert.’ And I get the intellectual excitement of helping people outside the health care system do their job. I like the idea of serving social justice, where the guilty go to jail and the innocent go free.”

Graduate Nurses Must Be Kept on, Says Report


IRISH PATIENTS will have to bring a relative with them into hospital to look after them in a few years' time "like they do in Ethiopia", unless the Government implements a new report that will see graduate nurses retained in the healthcare system, the annual conference of the Irish Nurses Organisation (INO) was told yesterday. 

Annette Kennedy, director of professional development with the INO, said the independent report from the Commission on Nursing Hours that looked at how a 35-hour week could be delivered for nurses recommended two nursing graduates on reduced salaries be employed to replace each retiring nurse. 

In this way she said all nurses could get a shorter working week, which they have been campaigning for since they took industrial action in 2007; young nurses would get experience; and over 1,000 replacement nursing jobs would be created every year at a time when jobs rather than more people on the dole were needed. 

She added that the report, which was recently submitted to Minister for Health Mary Harney, also pointed to how more efficient use could be made of nurses' time. At present nurses, she said, spend 20 per cent of their time undertaking associated duties like chasing equipment and cleaning. She also pointed out that many patients were spending too long in hospital before operations, which was also an inefficient use of resources. 

She pointed to the ageing profile of nurses, saying 50 per cent of all community nurses were over 50 and in general services the vast majority of nurses were over 40. "If we can't bring in new graduates . . . then we will be in trouble," she said. 

Ms Harney, in her address to delegates, said the report was "very innovative" and gave "a lot of food for thought". She will be discussing it with the HSE, but ultimately it would have to be approved by Government. 

Meanwhile, delegates also heard that about 22 per cent of hospitals and healthcare settings have still not reduced nurses' hours from 39 hours a week to 37.5 hours a week as they were required to do from June 1st, 2008. 

The INO is meeting the National Implementation Body on this issue next week and will insist that hours are reduced in all settings and that nurses who haven't yet benefited from the reduction in their hours be compensated retrospectively by pay or time in lieu. 

Originally published by EITHNE DONNELLAN. 

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