Bigger pay for nurses sought

Bigger pay for nurses sought

AS THE NUMBER of nursing graduates who took the licensure exams for the United States doubled last year, a lawmaker underscored on Sunday the need to increase the base pay of Filipino nurses to keep them in the local health sector.

“We must increase the base pay of our public nurses who are now being ‘pirated’ aggressively by hospitals in America and other countries,” Quezon City Rep. Marvin D. Rillo said in a statement.

The number of nursing graduates who took the nursing licensure exams in the US doubled to 36,410 in 2023 from 18,617 a year earlier, Mr. Rillo noted.

House Bill No. 5276, which seeks to increase the base pay of nurses by 75% to encourage them to work domestically has been pending at the House appropriations panel since 2022. If enacted into law, the starting pay of nurses would jump up to P63,997.

The base pay of nurses is currently under salary grade 15, or a minimum of P35,097 per month.

On the other hand, Senate Bill No. 638, which proposes to increase the salary grade of nurses to 19 from the current 15, is pending at the Senate civil service panel.

Citing 2021 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mr. Rillo said nurses working in America receive an annual median pay of $81,220 (about P4.57 million) in 2022.

Mr. Rillo also noted that several local hospitals are struggling to enhance their services due to the lack of nurses.

“We have received reports that many local governments in the provinces are unable to upgrade their hospitals simply because they lack nursing service staff,” he said.

He urged local governments and private corporate foundations to offer scholarships to encourage students to take up nursing. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz