139 Graduates from WMSU Special Nursing Program
November 3, 2004

Paying tribute to the Filipino nurses who have been “rated above other nurses from all over Asia and the world”, Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) president Dr. Eldigario Gonzales last Saturday keynoted the graduation of the first batch of 139 students who completed a special program on nursing. All of them had previously completed a full baccalaureate degree, some even medical courses.

“The Philippines has become the focal source of nurses who serve some of the best hospitals and health care delivery centers of the world”, Dr. Gonzales noted in his speech of the commencement exercises held at Astoria Regency in Pasonanca, this city.

The quality training given to Filipino Nurses in the country has made them much in demand abroad, and the ongoing exodus that started as early as 10 years ago is feared to have created a health service crisis in the country. Zamboanga’s congressman, Erbie Fabian, in a recent privilege speech in Congress said as many as 100,000 Filipino nurses have left to work abroad since 1994. Fabian, a nurse by training, however opposed any compulsory service by nursing graduates, saying that would be “undemocratic”.

Much higher pay in foreign jobs is generally the reason why Filipino nurses and doctors choose to leave. A news report said nurses in the United States and United Kingdom cna earn as much as P200,000 monthly while the average pay in the Philippines is a meager P10,000.

WMSU’s special nursing education program enables its enrollees to finish the course in under two years..

Generating more nursing graduates is one way to offset any human resource crisis in the public health sector..

Dr. Gonzales said “educational institutions should find the necessity to evaluate their curricula in response to the emerging serial, economic, political and cultural demands… To read the signs of the times and design appropriate responses based on more scientific analyses of social experiences.”.

He said that with the graduation of the first batch under the special program, “the university and you (graduates) make history as both forge a new beginning in the Philippine education that clearly speaks of social and economic response and relevance.” (Rey-Luis Banagudos, PAO-WMSU)