Friday, October 20, 2006

"Saving the nursing profession"

Continued from Mrs. Arroyo and the Nursing Scandal

Even as the retake question seems daunting, it's merely diversionary. To retake or not to retake, that is the question. But it's also the wrong question to ask.

The reason put forward in favor of re-examination is "to save the nursing profession." A retake will show that the profession is committed to the rigor of its standards. That it might, but it only manages to punish the least culpable in the crime, that is, the hopeful examinees.

Unlike, say, cheating an election, the examinees had no direct hand in bribing the examiners. The results were not previously rigged in their favor; they still had to take the exam. It might have given them an unfair advantage, but they nevertheless had to remember the answers to the leaked questions. This doesn't make the act any less odious, but it pales in comparison to the collusion between the examiners, the Professional Regulatory Commission, and the review centers.

Focusing on the retake also gives undue focus on the examination process as the be-all and end-all of the nursing profession. Passing the board exam is only one measure that a prospective nurse meets the minimum requirements, and only on paper, at that; it doesn't guarantee that the nurse will be a good one in practice. The onus is ultimately on the local health care industry to weed out the good nurses from the bad.

A retake does not address the prevailing ills of the profession. Nursing is a noble profession, but it has been prostituted as mere money-making machinery. It's not simply the thousands who see nursing as their way out of the country, though they too are part of the equation. Rather, it's the inevitable opportunism that grows like weeds in the face of such high demand: substandard nursing schools, predatory employment agencies, and, of course, review centers who dazzle hopefuls with leakage. This system is in need of serious overhaul.

A retake, if it takes place, will simply be a cosmetic remedy. What good is another examination if the structures are in themselves flawed? Indeed, what good is nursing as a profession if its primary intent goes no further than an export commodity?

If nursing as a profession is to be saved, some hard decisions have to be made.


  1. Overhauling the system is pointless. Never has and never will work.

    Overhaul humans first.

    How? If I knew, Earth would be bowing their respect to the Grand Mufit Overload Protectorate Benevolent Dictator for Life Generalissimo Hoovenson.

  2. Sure thing, Benz. Would you like a funny hat to go along with that?