Special program for board exam repeaters pushed

Dismayed at the result of the November nursing board examination, an official of a nursing association proposed Wednesday for a special program that will address the concerns of repeaters and avoid waste of resources of the graduates and their parents.

Only 39.73 percent or 37, 527 of the 94, 462 examinees passed the nursing board administered by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in November last year. Of the total board passers, almost 50 percent were first timers while only 26 percent were repeaters.

Dr. Fely Marilyn Lorenzo of the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) and head of the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Health Policy and Development Studies said the result indicates two things: the quality of nursing education is not really improving, although not deteriorating; and that repeaters are bringing down the average.

“Although the November result is the lowest so far, it’s not really bad for the first timers. But the implication was different because we have a big drop in percentage that was being dragged by the repeaters,’’ she said in an interview.

“The repeaters should be given special programs by their schools to determine what it is they have difficulty in taking the test. Sometimes it is not a lack of knowledge, sometimes its ‘testmanship’ – they are not taught how to take the exam,’’ explained Lorenzo, adding she is not endorsing the review centers.

She said that many of the repeaters may have not been exposed to actual training or patient’s care so that the critical thinking that was being tested by the exams were not brought to fore.

The proliferation of nursing schools (now at 460 nationwide), lack of training hospitals and lack of related learning experience, among others contributed to the graduates’ failure in the exam, she added.

Lorenzo, a former chair of the Technical Committee in Nursing Education said that the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) should take a second look at quality of schools that are churning out this high rate of repeaters and make all schools responsible for their graduates and mandate them to provide enabling programs for repeaters.

“As part of regulatory mandate of CHED, they have to come up with development programs for this, and/or partner with the labor department because the fruits of education should be employable labor. If the education system is not coming out with employable labor, then we will be short of supply of employable people.”
She admitted that although there is a surplus of nurses in the country, there is as well a shortage in skilled nurses.

Lorenzo said it is high time that the schools are now obliged to analyze and address the problems of their graduates by providing tools to help them pass in the board.

More importantly, she said the CHEd should also start closing down some schools especially those not performing well.

“Unless significant changes are made in the way the schools are operated, it will continue to be like this and resources will always be wasted. Basic here is to close some schools because the training hospitals are not enough to teach them,” the expert said.

Moreover, Lorenzo bewailed the schools and even society for consistently believing that nursing is merely an investment.

“The nursing profession is unhappy that up to now society sees nursing as a business. They are not realizing the effects of all this,” said Lorenzo.

With an estimated investment for nursing education at P40,000 a semester for school fees alone or half a million in total, she said it is a waste of resources for parents to send a daughter/ son to school without having to reap the fruits of their labor.


Anonymous said...

i learned that testmanship...is important in the board..first heard it from a cousin in baguio...way back..learned from a leading testmanship lecture..hmmm...dr. thean chui..well, that help me a lot...listenning to how to attack the questions