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Question re foreign educated RN..


Is it possible to say what would be an equivalent U.S. education/license for someone who holds an RN in the Phillipines but is not licensed in the U.S.? Is it basically the same as an RN here? Or more/less? The only Phillipine trained nurse I've talked with (I'm in a very non diverse area, he did a one time ride along with me and works in another area) said he had a larger scope in the Phillipines but I'm not sure if that was due to licensing and education or to more lax regulations.

(this is in regards to a new private hire caregiver who has started working as a teachable caregiver, not as an RN. I'm only curious and don't want to ask him in front of the patient/family)

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 27 years experience.

Migration of nurses from the Philippines to developed countries (US being the most popular) have been going on since the 60's. Filipino nurses have had an advantage over immigrants of other nationalities in the US owing to the similarity in educational preparation in the Philippines with the BSN* as the entry level degree, a "generalist" education in prelicensure nursing, the partial use of English for classroom instruction, and the use of textbooks authored by American nurses in the schools. Despite not being a first world country, modern health care in the Philippines is modeled after American concepts of public health during the colonial occupation of the Philippines by the US.

Having said that, I don't think nurses in the Philippines necessarily "have a larger scope" than nurses in the US. There are cultural differences in health care delivery in both countries. We have a rigid set of rules of scope of practice here whereas scope of practice can be informally interpreted in the Philippines depending on the setting where the nurse works. Privately run hospitals where patients pay for their services are likely similar to the US setting with more defined nursing roles. Government-run facilities can be run-down, crowded, and understaffed with physicians making it more feasible for nurses to perform roles beyond traditional scope. Nurses there improvise and make do with limited resources.

In recent years, foreign nursing migration has been curtailed by shifting public opinion on immigration and the fluctuations in the US economy. There are also allegations of declining quality of nursing education in the Philippines when demand for Filipino nurses were at its peak and the private sector there saw it as an opportunity to capitalize on the business of opening new substandard nursing schools. There has been scrutiny of nursing education in the Philippines and states like California now deem the programs not equivalent (at least in terms of structure and progression) to CA nursing programs.

Nurses educated in the Philippines are having trouble getting licensed as RN's (i.e., in California) and some have difficulty passing the NCLEX-RN in other states. You will come across some who will go to the next route which is to pursue nursing-related jobs without an RN license. Be aware that you can be taking legal risks with someone who is unlicensed yet performing roles only RN's are qualified to do. Without that license, I would only allow that person to perform basic nursing care done by a CNA in a home care setting.

*While I said BSN is the entry level degree there, this wasn't always the case. There was a GN program that existed alongside a BSN program there. Both were licensed as RN's when they passed the nursing boards (similar to the ASN vs BSN here). The GN programs were eventually phased out in the late 70's.

Sorry for the long-winded response. This interests me as nurse educated in the Philippines for my BSN.

Nurse Migration from a Source Country Perspective: Philippine Country Case Study

Thank you for the detailed response!

I want to clarify, I was referring to two different RN's.

One is licensed here in Ca and works for my company in another branch. He was the one who told me about being able to participate in procedures that aren't within our scope here.

The second one is not licensed here and is working privately for one of our Medicare home health patients, the family arranged and is paying him directly, he is not our employee. For our purposes, we teach lay people, family or private caregivers, to do wound care as well as things like IV's, enteral feeding etc, his lack of license is irrelevant.

I was just curious when the family introduced him as an RN what education he might have had. He looked really young, though everybody is looking really young these days LOL.