Nursing a reputation

By Rachel C. Barawid – Three years ago, Ricarte A. Gapuz, Jr.’s world almost crumbled when allegations of a leakage in the 2006 Nursing Licensure Examination (NLEX) involved his review center in Baguio City.

The controversy grew in magnitude, spawning a massive inquiry in the Senate, Lower House, and the Office of the President. It had even cast doubt on the authenticity of the NLEX, threatened the state of nursing education in the country, and almost jeopardized the incoming Filipino nurses’ job-seeking opportunities in other countries.

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But Gapuz, a licensed nurse, teacher and businessman, was finally vindicated early this year by a ruling by the Department of Justice, absolving him and two of his officials of liability and involvement in the leakage issue.

In a resolution dated February 5, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez withdrew the charges of manipulation and corrupt practices against him and his officials Ma. Elena Altarejos and Jonna Bucud. Evidence failed to prove the allegations.

Gapuz who said he believed he was just an unsuspecting victim in this whole controversy, was only implementing the usual practice of his review center whenever NLEX exams are already near.

“Before the exams, we usually conduct extensive review classes and provide our examinees with handwritten notes or reading materials from various outside sources to aid them in their review. In that case, it was an 18-page handwritten notes derived from various sources, books, other materials and from students themselves. Pooling is a very good strategy. Sometimes you cannot create a good instructional design if you do not take into consideration inputs from students. Kahit sa college, ginagawa yan. Ganun din sa board,” Gapuz explains.

He adds that a common practice among a group of reviewees is that they split the group and enroll in various review centers and combine together whatever they learned to gain a wider knowledge and give them better chances of passing the board exam.

He reveals that the 91 students who complained against him were not even his students but of a rival review center in Baguio. The case was dismissed by the Professional Regulation Commission.

As a result of the 2006 leakage controversy, the oathtaking of board passers was postponed as the Court of Appeals ordered a partial retake of the exams to cover the Tests III and V or two subjects in question which were medical-surgical nursing and psychiatric nursing. Moreover, the US-based Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) required passers of the June 2006 NLEX to retake Tests III and V if they wanted to be issued visas for employment in the U.S. A year after, some 13,000 nursing graduates voluntarily retook portions of the exam.

MOVING ON

Instead of fighting it out to the end, Gapuz chose to keep silent about the issue, left the courts to prove his innocence and continued to manage his review center business which surprisingly didn’t fold up as expected by many of his detractors.

For the first few months after June 2006, he disclosed that his five review centers all over the country including the controversial one in Baguio still continued to enjoy brisk business during the two seasons a year of nursing review held usually from April to May and another in September to November.

Gapuz credits this positive turn-out to his coping strategy — which is keeping silent about the issue. During the height of the controversy, he just concentrated on writing another nursing review book, attending symposiums and speaking engagements in Asia and conducting review classes for nursing graduates in Dubai and India.

“Sa business school, meron silang tinatawag na reverse marketing. And like what they say, if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. Yun ang aking dictum. The situation gave me a different look at life. Everything is short-lived. No tough situation really lasts, it is only the tough people that last. I’ve been through a lot but I think I managed to come out of this unscathed and stronger,” he says.

Gapuz points out that he decided to look at the situation in a positive way and as a stimulus to work harder. Later, he realized how much he was loved by his clients who never left him during those trying times.

“People now are intelligent. Hindi mo mabibilog ang ulo nila. They know what is a fact from fiction. Yung magnitude na yun it reached the Senate, Congress and it even reached the President. I don’t think it would still be alive at this point, even any business would be closed for that matter kung ganon ang magnitude ha,” he reasons.

FULL STORY

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3 Responses to Nursing a reputation

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  • Multi-Lingual Medical Knowledge says:

    Sa business school, meron silang tinatawag na reverse marketing. And like what they say, if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. Yun ang aking dictum. The situation gave me a different look at life. Everything is short-lived. No tough situation really lasts, it is only the tough people that last. I’ve been through a lot but I think I managed to come out of this unscathed and stronger,” he says.

  • Multi-Lingual Medical Knowledge says:

    For the first few months after June 2006, he disclosed that his five review centers all over the country including the controversial one in Baguio still continued to enjoy brisk business during the two seasons a year of nursing review held usually from April to May and another in September to November.

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