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Filipino Nurses: Export Quality

The World Health Organization has cited the Philippines as the largest exporter of Registered Nurses to foreign countries. Filipino nurses can be found everywhere around the world --- in the big cities of United States and England, in urbanized centers of Europe and Asia, in the far corners of Africa and South America, in remote desert clinics in the Middle East, in offshore rigs on the China Sea. The latest statistics show that about 250,000 Filipino nurses are working all over the world. This phenomenon was noted in 1985, continues today, and will be for so many years.

Philippine nursing schools, 175 of them in 1998, graduate more than 9,000 students per year, of whom 5,000 to 7,000 will eventually become licensed registered nurses. In 1997, there were 36,000 students enrolled in nursing schools. The training of nurses is based largely on the American system and features apprenticeship, laboratory work, experiments, residency, and community-based projects.

On a per capita basis, the Philippines has more nurses than any other country. In a country with a population of 70 million, the nursing sector has a surplus of expert manpower.

The Filipino nurse speaks English, and is predisposed to working outside of her country. By the time a Filipino nurse finishes her nursing degree, she would have spent at least 10 years in school, being taught most of her subjects in the English language, instead of the local language. The fluency in English results in adaptability and shorter training period. Overseas employment for a Filipino Registered Nurse is not considered unusual and is regarded as enrichment of professional experience.

Lahat ay nagpupunta na rin sa Middle East.

There was a time when only our skilled workers are flocking to the Middle East. Today, however, more and more professionals are opting to try their luck here as most Middle Eastern countries offer tax-free income, a real perk considering how much they can earn and save under this setup. So, Filipinos have chosen to endure the conservatism of the Arabs. What a price to pay...