The House of Representatives of the Philippines approved the proposed Comprehensive Nursing Law of 2015 on the third and final reading last week. The bill will provide a minimum monthly salary of PHP 24, 887 for entry-level nurses in both public and private hospitals. The law also requires a yearly salary increase for nurses.
The HB 6411 is intended to institute further reforms, develop and protect the nursing profession in the country. The bill described as an “Act providing for a Comprehensive Nursing Law towards quality healthcare system,” would repeal the RA 9173 also known as the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002.
“This is in recognition of the vital role nurses play in the delivery of quality health services not only in the country, but all over the world,” according to the authors of the bill. They added that adjustments in policies are necessary to meet the present developments in the industry.
“This includes providing humane and globally competitive and competent nursing care, ensuring positive practice environment for nurses, strengthening the Philippine nursing profession as a recognized leader in primary health care, enforcing quality standards in nursing education and practice, and providing guidelines toward nursing career progression,” they added.
Ensuring better practice and competitiveness of nurses
The Comprehensive Nursing Law seeks to restructure the scope and practice of nursing, ensure competitiveness and provide better practice environment and strengthen the nursing profession, according to its proponents.
The key provisions of the bill include certification, educational requirements, and specialization to ensure the competitiveness of nurses in the country.
Another important mandate in the bill was for the Department of Health to develop an Advance Practice Nursing Program that would upgrade the level of skills and competence of specialty nurse- clinicians.
The bill also expands the powers of the Board of Nursing to strengthen its decision-making processes concerning the nursing practice while providing additional requirements for different levels of the profession.
Other important provisions of the Comprehensive Nursing Law
Aside from the minimum monthly salary of PHP 24,887, the bill also requires the government to assign nurses for every barangay, school and workplace.
The bill requires hospitals to establish a safer nurse-to-patient ratio and provide free hospitalization for nurses and their dependents.
The bill also requires an allotment of budget from PCSO and PAGCOR for free trainings and Scholarship grants for nurses. It also mandates an Advanced Practice Nursing.
Furthermore, the bill prohibits employing nurses on a contractual or job order basis, and it also illegalizes employing them as volunteer or OJT.
The Comprehensive Nursing Law (HB 6411) substitutes that House Bills 151, 1372, and 1970, which were proposed by Representatives Leah S. Paquiz, Carlos M. Padilla, Rufus B. Rodriguez, Maximo B. Rodriguez, Jr., Andres D. Salvacion, Jr., Isidro T. Ungab, Susan A. Yap, Mariano U. Piamonte, Jr., Gary C. Alejano, Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado, and Anthony G. Del Rosario.
A version of the bill in the Upper House (Senate Bill 2720) was approved in November last year. The Comprehensive Nursing Law of 2015 will now go to the bicameral committee and then to President Benigno Aquino III for his final approval.
The Senate Bill 2720 was sponsored by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, chairman of the Committee in Civil Service and Government Reorganization.
In a previous statement, Sen. Trillanes said, Filipino nurses are widely recognized as the “among the best healthcare providers” worldwide. He added that some of our nurses were forced to work under contractual terms or seek better opportunities abroad because of the growing number of nurses in the country and the government fails to address their needs.