Herbosa wants to relax rules on hiring nurses to fight shortage

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 8) — Health Secretary Ted Herbosa is looking at tapping nursing graduates without a license to combat the shortage in the local health workforce.

The newly installed health chief bared this plan during a chance interview with reporters on Thursday, as he noted that there are 4,800 vacant positions for nurses in the government

“Kinausap ko ‘yung PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) commissioner, one of the commissioners, gawin naman natin ‘yung mga may diploma maka-trabaho sa gobyerno and I’ll give them three to five years to pass their board exam,” he said.

[Translation: I talked to one of the PRC commissioners, let us allow those with diplomas to work in the government and I'll give them three to five years to pass their board exam.]

Herbosa said he would also initiate discussions with the Philippine Nurses Association to push for this plan.

If the law permits, the secretary said, private hospitals can do the same.

“Alam ko ‘yung mga private hospital hindi makapag-expand ng ward kasi walang nurse,” he said.

[Translation: I’m aware that private hospitals can’t expand their ward because of the shortage in nurses.]

Herbosa said some of nursing graduates who failed the board exam settled for jobs in the field of business process outsourcing, aviation as flight attendants, and marketing.