RP nurses welcomed to New Zealand and not discriminated upon, says DFA

May 8, 2009 4:54 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, May 7 –Filipino nurses are welcome to work and are not being discriminated in New Zealand, executives of the New Zealand Nursing Council assured the Department of Foreign Affars (DFA) in a recent meeting here.

With about 200 Filipino nurses registered with the Auckland government every year, Filipinos comprise the second largest number of foreign nurses in New Zealand.

The New Zealand group was led by Chief Executive Carolyn Reed and Registration Manager Andrea McCance, who contradicted erroneous media reports in New Zealand about alleged incompetence of Filipino nurses.

Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Bienvenido Tejano suggested the visit to Manila in response to the Council’s desire to consult with their Philippine counterparts.

The officers “assured the Philippine Government that New Zealand will continue to hire Filipino nurses and expressed regret at the confusion,” the DFA said today.

The DFA quoted Reed as having said that “the remarks were made by other parties who are not connected with the New Zealand Nursing Council or the New Zealand Government. “

For her part, McCance stressed that the Nursing Council has been making it less complicated for qualified foreign nurses to come to New Zealand.

McCance explained that such steps include posting “complete information on its website and staggering the completion requirement of completing seven bands under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) which include the option of taking the IELTS in the country of origin.“

In their meetings here, the Council officials relayed their observation that Filipino nurse candidates are "able to successfully hurdle the prescribed bridging program” and cited a very low failure rate in the required competency assessment program, DFA reported.

But the Nursing Council also pointed out “that the issuance of residency visas is beyond the scope of their work, but a foreign nurse registered with them will present such registration in support of a separate proper residency status application with New Zealand immigration authorities.”

The Council officials also said they encourage direct applications rather than coursing registration via recruitment agencies.

The Council executives met with DFA Asian and Pacific Affairs director J. Susana Paez and Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations director Eric Gerardo Tamayo, and Dr. Teresita Barcelo, president of the Philippine Colleges of Nursing (ADPCN). They also met separately with officials of the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The New Zealand guests were also briefed on the role of the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) and explained the significance of the Philippines’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) curriculum and the educational standards for registered nurses in the Philippines.

This explanation caused Reed to react that ”the meetings facilitated their understanding of the Philippine nursing program for purposes of matching course requirements.”

Accordingly, the DFA encouraged the Nursing Council, PNA and ADPCN "to pursue and adopt a practice done with other countries of having school registrars identify and match subjects with foreign government requirements on the applicant’s transcript of records.”

”This would also facilitate the evaluation of individuals who will practice nursing in New Zealand and that they are indeed International Qualified Nurses (IQN) suitable for the country’s healthcare standards,” DFA officials told the foreign guests.

According to the Philippine hosts, “the meeting’s outcome assures an open line of communication between the Council and the nurses sector in the Philippines, and augurs well for better opportunities for Filipino nurses and the adoption of relevant programs to further uplift the nursing profession in the country.” (PNA)

LAP/GJB

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