News Release

PBBM admin achieves quick wins in addressing PH nurse shortage – PSAC


The Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Healthcare Sector Group enumerated recent quick wins by the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in addressing the shortage of nurses in the country through various collaborative public-private programs in the healthcare, overseas welfare and education sectors.

In the 5th PSAC Healthcare Sector Group meeting with President Marcos in Malacañang on Thursday, the PSAC Health Sector Lead Paolo Borromeo, President and CEO of Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc., updated the President on the recent quick wins achieved by his administration in accordance with his directives to address the shortage of nurses in the country. These include the Clinical Care Associates Program for underboard nursing graduates, Enhanced Master’s Nursing Program, and the bilateral labor agreements with other countries in the training and deployment of Filipino nurses.

PSAC is led by Sabin M. Aboitiz, President and CEO of Aboitiz Group.

Last year, the President witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the launch of the Clinical Care Associates (CCA) Upskilling Program, designed to create a pool of licensed nurses and to address the shortage of nurses in the country. The MOU was signed by the PSAC-Health together with the Department of Health (DOH), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPi), to facilitate employment for underboard BS Nursing students. During their degree, these students will become CHED-certified and work as Clinical Care Associates in healthcare industries.

Around 300 CCA had already been hired by various hospitals all over the country. To help the CCAs become nurses, Borromeo told President Marcos that the CHED has allocated P20 million for board reviews of 1,000 Clinical Care Associates (CCAs) for this year.

As of February 20, 304 CCAs enrolled from both private and public hospitals, Borromeo said, adding CCA recruitment will continue for the November 2024 nursing board examination. Borromeo further stated that PSAC will also roll out the program for the 2025 boards examinations.

“That’s an instant addition to our nursing population. If we are able to fill the seats that Chair Popoy (CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III) that was able to get that’s a thousand CCAs but now 300 pa lang. A thousand CCAs is not a small number in a country where we graduate about 7,000 to 10,000 nurses a year,” Borromeo said.

He added the proponents have the capacity to roll out the program this year and also next year. “So instantly we have a thousand just like that. So I characterized that as a big win and I want to commend Chair Popoy for that,” Borromeo said.

Another significant development is the Enhanced Master’s Nursing Program aimed at producing more nursing instructors in the country, Borromeo said.

Under the program, the three-year Master’s Nursing Program was shortened by CHED to just one year, to enable those who graduate from the program eligible to teach.

PSAC eyes to roll out the master’s program starting academic year 2024-2025 in 16 higher education institutions (HEIs).

Bilateral labor agreements with other countries are also a big win for the country, Borromeo also noted, citing the pilot memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Austria which was forged through the help of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Under the MOU, the Austrian government will provide scholarships, faculty support, as well as back adopt-a-school/hospital scheme. Among PSAC future thrusts include pushing for the President’s approval of the MOU.

Other PSAC initiatives also include Underboard Certificate Programs, Balik Nurse Campaign, and the National HRH Masterplan.

Discussions are ongoing between TESDA and CHED for the Underboard Certificate Programs, while PSAC still has to define the program specifics for the Balik Nurse Campaign and will explore pilot launch in the Middle East.

In the 4th PSAC Health Sector Group Meeting with the President last September, President Marcos directed concerned government agencies to work with PSAC on their various initiatives and recommendations to address the shortage of nurses in the country through multisectoral collaboration, status of programs on local drug manufacturing, and the continued support for PhilHealth and the implementation of the Universal Healthcare. | PND