The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) on Wednesday announced the lifting of the moratorium in the opening of new nursing undergraduate and graduate programs.
Ched chairperson Prospero de Vera III said the decision was reached after a thorough review and study of the commission en banc of the moratorium on nursing imposed in 2011.
“There were calls to lift the moratorium because of the perceived lack of nurses and health care personnel which was seen as critical area in ensuring hospital care and vaccination of Filipinos during this pandemic,” De Vera said, adding that the Commission has “been studying the lifting of the moratorium for some time,” de Vera said.
On September 2010, Ched Memorandum Order No.32 stopped the opening of all undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing (BS Nursing, MA Nursing, Master of Nursing and PhD Nursing) beginning academic year 2011-2012.
The moratorium was imposed due to the gradual decline of the quality of graduates and the proliferation of higher education institutions (HEIs) offering nursing programs.
De Vera said this led to the oversupply of nursing graduates with more than 200, 000 nurses with no jobs.
It was also issued to address complaints of nursing students that they have to pay hospitals to get on-the-job training and certification.
To support the lifting of the moratorium, De Vera presented data from the Department of Health showing that the country needs 201,265 more nurses based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requirement.
“If you look at the total nurses in the Philippines and the current nurse to population ratio, you will notice that there is really a big gap in the supply side,” the CHED chief explained.
De Vera said that based on the SDG requirements, there should be 27.4 nurses for a population of 10,000.
“The Philippines currently has 90,205 nurses but ideally it needs 300,470,” he said citing the DOH data.
Among the regions that are in urgent need to have more higher education institutions offering nursing programs are Mimaropa, Eastern Visayas, Caraga, BARMM, CAR and Soccksargen.
Mimaropa has only 1, 613 nurses when ideally it should have 8, 945, Eastern Visayas with 3, 567 but should have 13, 320, and Caraga with 2, 206 but should 7, 856.
Meanwhile, BARMM, CAR and Soccksargen have only 1, 997, 2527 and 3, 908 nurses respectively.
De Vera said ideally, these regions should have 11, 714, 5,138 and 13, 656 nurses.
With the lifting of the moratorium, De Vera said higher education institutions can now apply and comply with the requirements to open new undergraduate nursing programs.
Image credits: Eric Paul Guanlao