‘Scandal’ Raises Questions About Filipino Nurses
The status of the Philippines "as one of the world's top producers of nurses could be threatened" after confirmation by the Filipino Professional Regulation Commission that hundreds of the 42,000 nursing school graduates who took Board of Nursing examinations in June received questions in advance, the New York Times reports. The Philippines serves as the main supplier of foreign nurses to the U.S., and a change in immigration law earlier this year removed the cap on the number of foreign nurses U.S. hospitals and clinics can hire.
However, the "scandal ... could greatly damage the status of Filipino nurses abroad," with some U.S. recruiters currently "turning away nurses who took the fraudulent board exams" and with many nurses who remain in the Philippines "having difficulty finding jobs," the Times reports.
According to initial allegations, George Cordero, at the time president of the Philippine Nurses Association, distributed board exam questions to nursing school graduates who took his coaching classes. In addition, Cordero allegedly bribed board examiners to obtain the questions in advance and paid for a trip to Switzerland for some board members.
Cordero has denied the allegations but has resigned as president of the association.
Industry groups have asked the commission to require nursing school graduates who took the exams in June to retake them to address the "tainted credibility of Filipino nurses here and abroad," but students who passed the exams maintain that they should not have to retake them (Conde, New York Times, 8/21).