CAPITAL HILL, Saipan – The number of nurses from the Philippines who took the United States licensing examination in Saipan dropped by 71 percent since the test has been offered in Manila in August 2007. Only 130 Filipino nurses took the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) at the PearsonVue testing center in the US island between August 2007 and July 2008.
This marked a 71 percent drop from the 461 nurses who took the NCLEX during the same months of the previous year, based on data from the Commonwealth Board of Nurse Examiners.
Nurses from the Philippines and other foreign countries need to take and pass the NCLEX to be eligible to practice nursing in the United States and its territories, including Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
Saipan used to be one of the closest places to the Philippines where nurses can take the NCLEX. Saipan is the capital of the CNMI, a 14-island United States territory about three hours away from Manila by plane.
Between 2002 and 2008, the CNMI nursing board said 1,557 foreign nurses took the NCLEX in Saipan. But barely a year since NCLEX has been offered in Manila, the number of test takers has already reached 20,410, draining the number of nurses taking the NCLEX in Saipan and in other areas like Hong Kong.
The drastic drop in the number of Saipan-bound nursing graduates from the Philippines was one of the major reasons cited by Continental Micronesia when it discontinued direct flights between Manila and Saipan effective July 16, 2008.
However, the Philippine News Agency on Nov. 4 quoted Philippine Airlines president and CEO Jaime J. Bautista as saying the carrier plans to have flights to Saipan, San Diego, Chicago, New York and Seattle. Bautista, according to PNA, will spend some $1.4 billion for the fleet modernization program, which is expected to be completed later this year. - GMANews.TV
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