Thursday, August 06, 2015

[Vital Signs Column] Compulsory continuing education of nurses, is it beneficial?

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Nurse's Notes
August 2015 Column

Wondering about completing those Continuing Professional Education units in Nursing before getting renewed of your license? Recently, the Senate Committee on Civil Service & Government Reorganization being chaired by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV passed in final reading Senate Bill 5281 or the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2015. Along with Trillanes, Senators Cynthia Villar and Francis Escudero authored this bill.

"CPD is the post-licensure practice of inculcating skills, knowledge, and ethical values upon all professionals through various methods such as formal learning, informal learning, self-directed learning, on-line learning activities, and accredited professional work experience" as delivered by Trillanes in his sponsorship speech.

According to the authors this bill is in response to "the standards in the national, regional, and international labor markets" as envisioned by the ASEAN community which will be relevant in the ASEAN Integration.

In this bill, CPD will have a separate Council which will be supervised by the Professional Regulatory Board (PRB) - and in this case the Board of Nursing (BON). The CPD Council shall be composed of 1 chairperson and 2 members. In this structure the first member should be the president of the Accredited Professional Organization, meaning the Philippine Nurses Association. The second member should be coming from a national organization of deans, colleges, or universities and in Nursing that would be the Association of Deans of the Philippine Colleges of Nursing. The Chairperson of the CPD Council should be coming from the BON.

Council for each profession shall: 
  1. Ensure the adequate and appropriate provision of CPD programs for their respective profession;
  2. Evaluate and act on applications for accreditation of CPD providers and their CPD programs;
  3. Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the CPD Programs;
  4. Assess and/or upgrade the criteria for accreditation of CPD providers and their CPD programs on a regular basis; 
  5. Develop mechanisms for the validation. accreditation and recognition of self-directed learning, prior/informal learning, on-line learning, and other learning processes through professional work experience; 
  6. Conduct researches, studies and benchmarking for international alignment of CPD programs; 
  7. Issue operational guidelines, with the approval of the PRC and PRB concerned; and 
  8. Perform such other functions related or incidental to the implementation of the CPO. 
Now in Article III Section 10, CPD is declared as a mandatory requirement in the renewal of all professional identification cards under the PRC. Which is as you know this has been going around for years. As new nurses we were told to comply 30 units for CPE accreditation or else our PRC IDs won't be renewed. Many nurses out of fear of not getting renewed complied. I complied.

But you know what happened when I had my PRC ID renewed in 2013? I lined up, prepared all the hard copies of the certificates of relevant training, seminars, and other related professional work, paid the fees, and I got my PRC ID within an hour or so - without asking for the copies of my certificates. As it would seem, all those years we were told to comply and attend all these training and get certificates will be not counted for renewal of the PRC ID. 

One of the challenge that PRC and the CPD Council will have to hurdle is on how to monitor all the CPE units of every nurses in the country. Because at this rate it would seem that nurses would need to do 'self-monitoring' of the units they're getting because PRC does not have the current technology or human resources to carry this huge task. Also another concern would be on verifying the units the nurses are filing to PRC. Would this mean that once they filed for PRC ID/license renewal it will now take them longer than usual because the certificates they passed need to be verified? Would there be electronic filing? Or a technology where a nurse can log-in the details of the training/seminars he or she has attended? So many questions that perhaps the IRR of this bill can address. But until then I find this bill a little challenging.

Nurses achieving continuing education will surely help them in their professional careers but if the core intention of acquiring these training/seminars is to get renewed of their professional IDs/licenses then I think we have some foundation issues to work out. Looking forward to read the IRR.

Read the full context of the Bill here:


  1. Continuing education is as essential as going back to school to learn. The practice of nursing as in medicine must evolve. Nurses must be continuously tooled with new and evidenced based medicine and nursing management. Having said that, the infrastructure must be present to monitor not just the customers of this services (nurses) but also the providers of CEU. The providers must possess the necessary evidence that that they are giving current and evidenced based knowledge and are legitimate and not there to just milk nurses with their hard earned money. At the same token, nurses must be held accountable that they are attending legitimate and relevant continuing education courses.

  2. I thought it is only the members of the bar who under goes a continuing legal education program. It is nice to know that soon, all other profession in the Philippines will have some sort of a continuing educational training to further improve their skills and training.