US agency to give nursing licensure tests in Manila

By Jerome Aning – MANILA, Philippines — The United States’ National Council of State Boards of Nursing has announced that it will begin administering its licensure exams in Manila on August 23.

Scheduling for examination appointments will begin on Friday, according to a notice posted on the NCSBN website, www.ncsbn.org. The test will be administered by the Pearson Professional Center in Manila.

“The Manila site was chosen in February by the NCSBN Board of Directors because of the deep commitment shown by the Philippine government to ensuring a secure test center,” NCSBN said.

“The placement of a test site in the Philippines will allow for greater customer service to nurses without compromising the goal of safeguarding the public health, safety and welfare of patients in the US.,” it added.

NCSBN administers the National Council Licensure Exams (NCLEX) which Filipino nursing graduates must take and pass to be able to work in the United States. The Chicago-based council is an organization of the nursing boards of the 50 US states, the District of Columbia and the four US territories of Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

According to the NCSBN director of marketing and communications, Dawn Kappel, all international candidates are required to apply to the board of nursing in the state or territory where they wish to be licensed before registering for the NCLEX examination.
In practice, US hospitals recruit nurses in the Philippines through their own or third-party placement firms. The applicant is then sent to the United States but must take and pass the NCLEX to become a registered nurse.

Taking and passing the NCLEX here gives the applicant an assurance that he or she will get the position he or she applied for in the United States.

NCLEX examination fee for all candidates is $200. Candidates who elect to take the NCLEX at an international site such as Manila must pay an additional $150 when they schedule their examination.

Intended for the purposes of domestic nurse licensure in US states and territories, all security policies and procedures currently used to administer the NCLEX examination domestically will be fully implemented in Manila, according to Kappel.

Offered abroad since January 2005, the current international sites for NCLEX examinations are in London; Hong Kong; Sydney; Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver in Canada, Frankfurt, Germany; Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai in India; Mexico City; Taipei, Taiwan; and Chiyoda-ku and Yokohama in Japan.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas, chaired by Dante Ang, has been lobbying for the country’s application as venue. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo supported the move and even made a direct request to the NCSBN for the Philippine hosting of the NCLEX.

He said more than four-fifths of NCLEX examinees in international testing centers, particularly in Hong Kong, Guam and Saipan, are Filipinos. Being able to take the NCLEX in the country would be a great convenience to Filipino nursing graduates, he said.

More than 9,000 Filipino nurses take NCLEX annually to qualify for jobs in US hospitals and health centers.

Meanwhile, Professional Regulatory Commission chair Leonor Tripon-Rosero said that the June 2007 National Licensure Exam results will be released within the last week of August.

“Considering that there were more than 78,580 examinees and five subjects, the number of days for releasing the results would be longer,” Rosero said in a statement.

Marco Sto. Tomas of the Board of Nursing told reporters that only three “old” machines were doing the checking of the test papers.

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