IT WAS a bittersweet ending for the UST College of Nursing after the US-based Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) said it would not issue working visas to passers of the leak-marred Nursing exam last year unless they retake parts of the exam. In effect, the CGFNS upheld the UST position that a retake of the exams was needed.

But the CGFNS statement came shortly after the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed the college’s petition for a retake last Feb. 14.

“We are vindicated,” Faculty Association of the College of Nursing (Facon) president Rene Luis Tadle said. “What CGFNS stated was what we were saying all along. If there will be no retake, this will create a stigma that will affect the batch 2006 board examinees which is what actually happened.”

The CGFNS, a regulatory institution that issues working visas to nurses wanting to work in the US, announced last Feb. 15 that the June 2006 nursing licensure passers must retake Tests 3 (Medical and Surgical Nursing) and 5 (Psychiatric Nursing) of the exam to qualify for a Visascreen certificate.

“It is sad that it would take a foreign institution to tell us what we should do with our board exams,” Tadle said. “The Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) failed to see the wisdom of the retake measure as the only option to erase all doubts about the integrity of our examinations.”

However, Tadle expressed remorse over the impact of the CGFNS’s decision on the examiners and the ripple-effect it might have on other foreign countries.

“It has become a vicious cycle for the examiners of Batch 2006 because they are always left hanging,” Tadle said. “There could also be possibilities that other countries will follow what CGFNS did.”

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The only way the examiners could apply for a working visa from the CGFNS is to take the coming Nursing board exam in June which Tadle said the 2006 Nursing Thomasian graduates are willing to take.

As of press time, President Macapagal-Arroyo has appealed for a reconsideration of the CGFNS’s decision and has assured financial assistance to 2006 examiners who are planning to retake the exam on June.

On July 12 last year, a fact-finding committee created by the PRC found that 20 out of 100 questions in Test 3 and 90 out of 100 questions in Test 5 in the 2006 licensure exams were leaked out to examinees reviewing in the Inress of George Cordero and R.A. Gapuz Review Center in Baguio.

Resisting calls for a retake, the PRC and the Board of Nursing (BON) invalidated the leaked questions of Test 3 and lowered Test 5’s weight from 20 per cent to 2 per cent from the whole of the exam while the 18 per cent difference was distributed to tests 1 to 4.

From 17,322 passers out of 42,006 examinees of the exam, the number of successful examinees rose to 17,821 due to the recomputation.

However, Tadle filed a petition to the Court of Appeals against the decision of the PRC. The appellate court later dismissed the petition.

The SC also dismissed the petition for being premature saying that Facon should have sought first a reconsideration from the appeals court. The high court also said the petition did not indicate “competent evidence of affiant’s identities.”

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