The Philippine Nursing Act of 2002: Where are we now?

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The Philippine Nursing Act of 2012 (R.A.9173) regulates the nursing practice in the Philippines. It clearly outlines the professional requirements for Practicing Filipino Nurses in the country. R.A.9173 mandated the creation of a Professional Regulatory Board of Nursing (PRBON) and specified the requirements for its Chairperson and Members of the Board which has been fully implemented. The law also provided PRBON the authority to monitor and enforce quality standards of nursing practice in the Philippines and exercise powers necessary to ensure the maintenance of efficient, ethical, technical, moral, and professional standards in the practice of nursing. With this authority, the PRBON promulgated the Philippine Professional Nursing Practice Standards (PPNPS) on Resolution No. 22, Series of 2017. In this resolution, the PRBON outlined the 14 Responsibilities of Nurses in three different roles as Client Care, Leadership & Management, and Role in Research.

The professional requirements for Filipino nurses have been fully implemented and this was ensured by the Professional Regulatory Board of Nursing as its main governing body. Though Filipino Nurses go above and beyond to comply with what is required and expected from them as professionals, there seems to be a disconnect between the responsibility of nurses and the state’s responsibility toward nurses.

On R.A. 9173’s Declaration of Policy (Article II), it was declared that the state is responsible for the protection and improvement of the nursing profession and it is also the state’s responsibility to provide the Filipino people quality basic health services through an adequate nursing personnel system throughout the country. However, there are still some sections of the R.A. 9173 that are not yet fully implemented, and it can be easily observed that these sections involve what nurses are entitled to for serving the country.

Recently, nearly 18 years after then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed R.A. 9173 into law, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of nurses working in government health institutions stating that they must receive the salary stipulated on R.A. 9173. However, this ruling is still not yet fully implemented. This also resulted in some senior nurses being demoted so their salary can remain in Salary Grade 15.