New nursing law proposed

Martin Romualdez & Yedda Marie K. Romualdez

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and his wife, Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez  led 28 lawmakers from the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) and its allies in amending the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 to advance the country’s nursing education program.

The Romualdez couple said the collective move of 28 lawmakers was in response to President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s request to elevate the country’s status as a producer of leaders, experts, and authorities in the field of nursing.

The Romualdezes filed House Bill (HB) No. 7344 or the proposed “Advanced Nursing Education Act” to revise certain provisions of the country’s Nursing law.

“Too much emphasis has been placed in producing nursing degree-holders, that the opportunity to further educate our nurses in advanced programs has been overlooked,” the Romualdezes on the measure  which, is one of the priority bills that President Duterte mentioned during his State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last July 27.

Yedda Marie Romualdez, the chairperson of the House committee on the
welfare of children, is a registered nurse.

Ako Bisaya party-list Rep. Sonny “SL” Lagon, one of the co-authors and an ally of Lakas-CMD where Martin Romualdez is the Majority Leader, explained that the present nursing education program seems to be “too short-sighted” and focused on churning out batches for immediate forays abroad in search of opportunities.

“This is in response to the President’s request to further improve the nursing education in the country. Advanced nursing education programs have the capacity to further catapult our nurses to realize greater opportunities through the opening up of leadership roles, specialization in specific practice areas, and recognition in the fields of research and advanced nursing education,” said Lagon.

According to the lawmakers, the proposed development of advanced  nursing programs will not only benefit the nurses, but also the educational institutions that will cater to a potentially large demand for advanced nursing education.

“By introducing a new dimension to the local nursing education program and opening a whole new aspect of nursing education not previously tapped, we can elevate our status further to be recognized as a producer of leaders, experts, and authorities in the field of nursing,” the authors said.

Under the proposed law, nursing education shall refer to the formal learning and training in the science and art of nursing provided by higher educational institutions duly recognized and accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The measure provides that there shall be a basic program for nursing education which shall provide sound liberal and professional education and shall equip basic nursing students with necessary competencies for entry-level safe and quality nursing practice.

The bill says that the curriculum and related learning experiences should include community integration and immersion “to encourage more graduates to work in a community setting.”

HB 7344 provides that the admission to the basic program for nursing education shall require passing a National Nursing Admission Test (NNAT).

“The curriculum and the related learning experiences must be in accordance with the national nursing core competency standards to be promulgated by the Board of Nursing and implemented through the policies, standards, and guidelines by the Commission on Higher Education,” it said.

The bill also provides that there shall be a graduate program for nursing education, which shall be post baccalaureate nursing program, which builds on the experiences, and skills of a nurse towards mastery, expertise, and leadership in practice, research, and education.

“Such programs will develop highly specialized skills needed for nursing practice in the various fields of advanced nursing, including, but not limited to advanced practice nursing, ambulatory care nursing, critical care nursing, palliative care nursing, rehabilitation nursing, and other specialized fields of advanced nursing,” they explained.

“It shall include a master’s degree and doctorate degree in nursing founded on the philosophies and the scientific body of knowledge and practice,” it added.

The bill provides that graduate program for nursing education shall be offered only in higher educational institutions as prescribed by the prevailing CHED policies, standards and guidelines for graduate education.

The measure said that a member of the faculty in a College of Nursing teaching professional courses shall have the following qualifications: must be registered nurse in the Philippines and holder of a certificate of registration and a current professional identification card issued by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC); must have at least three years of nursing practice; must be a holder of a master’s degree in Nursing conferred by a university duly recognized by the Philippine government; and must have appropriate certificate of nursing proficiency, or its equivalent, to be issued by the Board of Nursing.

For a member of the faculty teaching graduate professional courses, they must be registered nurse and must have at least three years of nursing practice, and must be a holder of a doctoral degree in Nursing conferred by a university duly recognized by the government, it said.

It provides also that within 30 days after the effectivity of the proposed Act, the Board of Nursing and the PRC, in coordination with CHED and other concerned government agencies shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act.

The 25 other lawmakers from Lakas-CMD and its allies who joined the Romualdez couple as co-authors include Deputy Majority Leaders Wilter “Sharky” Wee Palma II of Zamboanga Sibugay and Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo of Pampanga, Quezon Rep. Aleta Suarez, Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Paz Radaza, Negros Occidental Rep. Marilou Arroyo, Lanao del Sur Rep. Yasser Balindong, Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger “Oging” Mercado, Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Leonardo “Jun” Babasa, Jr, Biliran Rep. Gerardo “Gerryboy” Espina Jr., Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, Catanduanes Rep. Hector Sanchez, Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., Misamis Oriental Rep. Christian Unabia, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, Alona party-list Rep. Ana Marie Villaraza-Suarez, Ako Padayon Pilipino party-list Rep. Adriano Ebcas, CWS party-list Rep. Romeo Momo, Sr., GP party-list Rep. Jose Gay Padiernos, PHILRECA party-list Rep. Presyley de Jesus, RECOBODA party-list Rep. Godofredo Guya, TGP party-list Rep. Jose Teves,  Deputy Speaker and 1-SAGIP party-listRep. Rodante Marcoleta, Ang Probinsyano party-list Rep. Alfred Delos Santos, and APEC party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc.