January 12, 2016, 2:06p.m. – CHOOSING to take the licensure examination instead of pursuing her medical education was a tough decision for Thomasian nursing alumna Alyssa Madriaga.

It paid off. 

Madriaga registered 86.4 percent and shared the top spot with Alyssa Claire Almo of Remedios Romualdez Medical Foundation and Suha Canlas Ibrahim of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. In all, there were a total of 9,114 new nurses, 402 of whom were Thomasians.

“I was in a constant battle with myself whether I made the right decision or not,” Madriaga said. “[But] with God and with the intercession of our patron saints, nothing is impossible.”  

Her road to the top began as soon as they set foot in the UST College of Nursing.

“The months of rigorous review sessions and truly helped us to be equipped better,” she said. “After the challenging examination, I never really expected to land a spot on the roster of the topnotchers.”

Madriaga turned to her faith. She prayed novenas to St. Jude and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and even offered eggs to Santa Clara.

“I brought my envelope that contained the materials I used in the exams and asked the priests of the churches that we visited to bless it,” she recalled. 



A close friend often pranked her about her topping the results.

“During the preparation for boards, he would also text me ‘Kamusta na yung topnotcher?’ and even after the exams, he would text or call me to tell me the results were already out and that he saw my name on the list of topnotchers,” she said.

“He did it twice and it has always triggered my anxiety,” she added. 

But the friend’s joke proved to be prophetic. 

Madriaga got a call once more but was incredulous given her friend’s track record. This time, he was no longer joking.

“He was insisting that this time what he’s saying is real and I asked for a proof. [When] he sent me screenshot of the list of topnotchers and I saw an ‘Alyssa’ on Rank 1, I was shaking,” she said.

When the image finally loaded, there’s no denying her achievement. 


Minor setback

Madriaga’s batch was supposed to take the board exam in May 2015. But the test was pushed later to November due to K to 12’s academic calendar shift.

Despite the change of dates, 23 Thomasians joined Madriaga in the list of topnotchers, with their batch making UST one of the top performing schools in the Nursing boards with a 100-percent passing rate.

While topping the boards was the goal of her batch, she said she never expected to land a spot in the roster of topnotchers.

“All I ever prayed for during the waiting period is to just pass and claim that license to save lives,” Madriaga said. “[The results] have not quite sunk [in me] yet. God is the real MVP and He deserves all the praise and recognition.” Mary Grace C. Esmaya


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