By Macon Araneta

A total of 12,786 Filipino nurses hoping to practice their profession in America took the US licensure examination for the first time, the ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations said.

“The number is up 24 percent versus the 10,302 Philippine-educated nurses who took America’s eligibility test, or the NCLEX, for the first time in 2018, and the highest since 2010,” said ACTS-OFW Chairman Aniceto Bertiz III.

Citing data from the U.S. National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc., Bertiz said a total of 1,541 Indians, 1,171 Puerto Ricans, 834 South Koreans and 901 Nigerians also took the NCLEX for the first time in 2019.

The $200 NCLEX is usually the final step in the US nurse licensure process. Thus, the number of foreign-educated nurses taking the test for the first time (excluding repeaters) is considered a sound indicator as to how many of them are trying to enter the profession in America.

An aggregate of 206,045 Filipino nurses have taken the NCLEX for the first time since 1995, Bertiz said.

“We see America’s demand for Filipinos nurses steadily increasing in the years ahead,” Bertiz, a former member of Congress, said.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects the creation of up to 371,500 new jobs for registered nurses in America between now until 2028 on account of the growing demand for health care, Bertiz pointed out.

“Most of these new jobs will be filled by US-educated nurses but some of them will have to be filled by Filipino and other foreign-educated practitioners,” Bertiz said.

Citing data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bertiz said registered nurses in America receive a median pay of $71,730 (PHP3.5 million) per year, or $34.48 (PHP1,714) per hour.

The German Federal Employment Agency has started recruiting 550 Filipino nurses.

The nurses for deployment to German hospitals and in-patient nursing homes will receive a gross starting monthly salary of 2,000 euros (PHP111,000), which will be increased to 2,400 euros (PHP133,000) after recognition as a qualified nurse.

Prior to deployment, the nurses will undergo German language training in the Philippines to be paid by the employer.

The employer will assist the nurses in finding suitable accommodation in Germany and the nurses will bear the board and lodging expenses in full or in part.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also began hiring “1,500 Filipino female nurses in all areas (of specialty).”

The nurses, once hired, will receive a starting monthly pay of 4,110 riyals (PHP54,500), plus 295 riyals (PHP3,900) for every additional year of experience.

The nurses will enjoy free food and accommodation, plus annual vacation with free round-trip economy ticket.