Filipino nurses looking for US jobs up 27 percent

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Filipino nurses

Nearly 5,000 Filipino nurses took the licensure exam in the United States in the first six months of the year, up 27 percent compared to last year, a lawmaker said today (August 27).

ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto “John” Bertiz III said a total of 4,533 Filipino nurses hoping to practice their profession in America took the U.S. licensure examination for the first time from January to June this year.

“The number is up 27 percent versus the 3,572 Philippine-educated nurses who took America’s eligibility test, or the NCLEX, for the first time in the same six-month period in 2017,” Bertiz said in a statement.

A total of 500 Indians, 444 Puerto Ricans, 392 South Koreans and 242 Nigerians also took the NCLEX for the first time from January to June, according to Bertiz.

The NCLEX refers to the licensure examination either for registered nurse (RN) or for practical nurse (PN) administered by the U.S. National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. (NCSBN).

Since passing the NCLEX is the final step in the nurse licensure process in America, the number of foreigners taking the test for the first time is a good indicator as to how many of them are trying to enter the profession in the US, according to the NCSBN.

Citing newly released NCSBN statistics, Bertiz said Jamaicans, Canadians and Cubans also compete with Filipinos in the U.S. nursing labor market.

Compared to other countries, Bertiz said many Filipino nurses would rather work in the U.S., mainly due to the superior hourly pay.

“Of course owing to our exposure to the Western culture, Filipino nurses also find it easier to work and live in America,” Bertiz said.

A total of 181,344 Filipino nurses have taken the NCLEX for the first time, without counting repeaters, since 1995, Bertiz said.

In the whole 12 months of 2017 alone, a total of 7,791 Philippine-schooled nurses took the NCLEX for the first time.

The median pay of registered nurses in America was $70,000 per annum, or $33.65 per hour in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Nurses in America work in hospitals, physician’s offices, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities, while others work in outpatient clinics and schools, or serve in the military, the BLS said.

Overall, the BLS said job opportunities for nurses in America are expected to be good because of employment growth and the need to replace practitioners who retire over the coming decade.

“However, the supply of new nurses entering the labor market has increased in recent years. This increase has resulted in competition for jobs in some areas of the country. Employers also may prefer candidates who have some related work experience or certification in a specialty area,” the BLS said.