CA Stops Oath-Taking of 14,000 Nurses
Byline: REY G. PANALIGAN
The Court of Appeals (CA) stopped yesterday the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Board of Nursing (BoN) from proceeding with the scheduled oath-taking of more than 14,000 new nurses on Tuesday, Aug. 22, pending a resolution of the case filed against the two agencies.
In a temporary restraining order (TRO) contained in a resolution written by Associate Justice Vicente SE Veloso, the CA ordered a public hearing on Sept. 14 on the petition filed by the College of Nursing Faculty Association of the University of Santo Tomas (CNFA-UST), the League of Concerned Nurses, and Binuklod na Samahan ng mga Student Nurse.
Meanwhile, the PRC presided over the oath-taking of 1,374 new nurses in Cebu City yesterday, even as other nursing examination passers took their oaths in Metro Manila, Bacolod, and Iloilo cities.
A memorandum signed by PRC Chairwoman Leonor Tripon-Rosero said: "Please be informed that the conduct of oathtaking for those who have passed the June 2006 Nursing Board Examination starts today, Aug. 17, 2006, at your respective regions."
In the meantime, the PRC and the BoN were directed to comment on the petition in 10 days. Associate Justices Conrado Vasquez Jr. and Rebecca Salvador de Guia concurred in the resolution.
The CA stopped the PRC and the BoN from enforcing Board Resolution No. 31 which states that "20 test items out of 100 in Test III were very similar in content or substance with the leaked materials, and 90 items out of 100 in Test V were identical in substance, forms, situations and choices with the leaked materials."
"To preserve the rights of the petitioners pending disposition of the subject petition and so as not to render any judgment hereon moot and academic, the temporary restraining order prayed is granted," the CA said.
"Effective for a period of sixty (60) days from receipt of this resolution, the respondents and all those acting in their behalf are directed to cease and desist from enforcing the assailed Board Resolution 31 ..., and from proceeding with the oath-taking allegedly scheduled on Aug. 22, 2006 of those who reportedly passed the June 11 and 26 examinations for nurse licensure," the CA ordered.
In their petitions, the three groups led by the CNFA-UST told the CA that the PRC and the BoN should keep and safeguard the integrity and competence of the Philippine nursing profession "by ensuring that only those who have qualified in appropriate examinations are allowed into the profession."
The CA was also told that they obtained a copy of Resolution 31 of the BoN, but they were outraged upon learning that the board and the commission approved a scheme for using the grades from the other portions of the examinations in computing the grades from the invalidated portions "although the resolution invalidated portions of the nursing examinations given on June 1112, 2006 due to the leakage."
They said that in computing the final grade of the examinees, the PRC committed grave abuse of discretion when it combined the scores in Tests I to IV to the scores in Test V since 100 of the questions in Tests I to IV contained concepts similar to Test V.
"The nurse, who may have actually lacked competence in neuro-psychiatric nursing but was admitted to the profession based on engineered computation of her grade could do some irreversible... The interest of public health and safety demands that only nurses who have been properly screened for their competencies are allowed to perform the tasks assigned to them," they said.
They pointed out that under Section 14 of Article IV of Republic Act 9173 or the New Nursing Law, it is the duty of the PRC and the BN to compute the scores of the examinations based on the results of the tests for the five areas.
"In determining the competencies of the examinees, minus the result of the fifth test in the area of neuro-psychiatric nursing, respondent BN of the PRC deliberately ignored, in violation of Section 14, the objectives of the nursing curriculum and the broad areas of nursing that included neuro-psychiatric nursing as indispensable discipline for all who desire to enter the profession," they stressed. …