"It's all about integrity," said a columnist in a major daily. I couldn't agree more. Last year, I blogged about why most June 2006 nursing examinees would rather not do an exam retake. It was about uncovering true objectives in becoming a nurse.
For the past several years, Nursing has become a vehicle for salvation here for most young people and their hopeful parents. Being a Nurse meant an opportunity to work abroad, get a better-paying job, and send money (US dollars) back home to their families. Parents sacrifice a lot in terms of money and manpower to see their children hurdle four years of college study.
Retaking an exam because of a lousy group of cheating jerks was simply NOT an option to the majority of innocent nursing examinees. They thought of the risk involved (they might fail this time) and most of all, they thought of the wasted time when they should already be working abroad, and be capable of regular sending of money back home.
Upholding honor and integrity sounds good and ideal, alright, but these concepts are great only on paper and fairy tale books. What was more urgent was feeding and sustaining their respective families. How can that happen when there is a clamor for a Nursing exam retake?
From the beginning, I saw it coming. Back then, I was already rooting for a full exam retake. There will be no meeting of the minds here. At best, there will be a sure conflict. The potential employers --- the Americans --- are straightforward, obey rules, and have no time for "negotiations" once a decision has been handed down. On the other hand, Filipinos are personal and a loving people, who would always want to renegotiate whenever they are in a tight spot. Being personal and loving has its advantages, but in this case, there are more disadvantages than advantages.
"Hindi uubra ang pakiusapan ngayon (talking and discussions won't help now)." The American employers want a retake of the compromised exams, and there is no other way to swing around that decision.
That is why I was overly flabbergasted when I heard that PRC Chief Leonor Rosero went to the US to appeal to CGFNS to reconsider its decision. What was she thinking?!? It was a total waste of time and a foolish way to spend people's money. I knew the CGFNS would say NO. If the objective was to make the government look good to the eyes of the examinees, she might have succeeded but at what cost? The Americans must be scratching their heads how a high government official fails to understand that when a mistake is done, it must be corrected. The Inquirer had it right --- it was mission useless!!!
Rosero's trip had the blessings of our economist President. From here, I theorize that the obvious reason must be the power of potential foreign dollar remittances that can be achieved if ever the CGFNS reconsiders. After all, what keeps the national economy afloat is the power of the millions of OFWs' foreign remittances around the world.
More than the economy, the issue here is integrity. The June 2006 nursing examinations leakage has not only harmed the reputation of the innocent nursing examinees, but the whole Philippine Nursing examination system. Economy might be important to most people, but in this case, the only way we can even hope to help the national economy is to first correct our stained integrity.
Older folks here used to say, "pagkahaba-haba man daw ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy," or no matter how long the procession is, it will surely end up inside the church. If the government decided then with finality to have a full retake of the nursing exams, there would be no more problems like the one they're having now. But because when the Filipino is placed in a tight spot, there will always be plenty of ifs and buts. Ifs and buts ruled the day then, and so here we are now --- plenty of wasted time, and no US nursing jobs yet for the June 2006 examinees.
What's the final decision, so far? A partial retake of the examinations. Which, I think, is still lacking and ridiculous. To impress a doubting employer, I think the full test should be taken all over again. Americans would simply not tolerate mistakes like this from happening in their hospitals.
When this great lady founded the profession of Nursing many years ago, she became a shining example for nurses everywhere of "compassion, commitment to patient care, and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration." Are these ideals still alive today?
Integrity is about adhering to a set of moral and ethical principles. Many nursing examinees may only have integrity tied up to their respective families. That is appreciated. But this time, there's more at stake than the family. It is the integrity of our nation as individuals who will someday set examples and work in an international environment. Our integrity has been put into question. We must rise above this trial and show the world that we know what integrity means and are willing to uphold it, no matter how difficult it may be.