26,972 Filipino nurses took U.S. licensure test from Jan to Sept 

File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer

An all-time high number of nursing graduates from the Philippines – 26,972 – took the U.S. licensure examination for the first time from January to September this year in hopes of practicing their profession in America, Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo, vice chairperson of the House committee on higher and technical education, said on Thursday.

The 26,972 represents an upturn of 117 percent when compared to the 12,399 Philippine-educated nurses that took the U.S. licensure test for the first time (excluding repeaters) in the same nine-month period in 2022, according to Rillo.

“The surge in the number of nursing graduates from the Philippines taking the U.S. licensure examination betrays a looming new wave of mass migration of practitioners to America,” Rillo said.

“The government should take forceful action now and invest more money to hang on to some of our nurses in the local health sector,” Rillo said.

Rillo has been batting for the passage of House Bill No. 5276, which seeks to bump up by 75 percent – from P36,619 to P63,997 – the lowest base of nurses employed by government hospitals.

Under Rillo’s bill, the minimum base pay of nurses in public health institutions would be raised by six notches to Salary Grade 21 prescribed under the Salary Standardization Law of 2019.

The World Health Organization previously warned that due to overseas migration, the shortfall of nurses in the Philippines could reach 249,843 by 2030 if no action is taken.

Citing data released Oct. 25 by the U.S. National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. (USNCSBN), Rillo said 5,123 nursing graduates from India also took the NCLEX for the first time from January to September, along with 2,712 graduates from South Korea, 1,859 graduates from Kenya, 1,692 graduates from Nigeria, and 1,342 graduates from Nepal.

The USNCSBN administers the NCLEX (or the National Council Licensure Examination) for registered nurses in America.

Passing the NCLEX is the final step in America’s nurse licensure process, and USNCSBN figures indicate that 49 percent of Philippine-educated nurses pass the test on their first take, whereas 40 percent of repeaters make the grade.