SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
A lawmaker has filed a bill that seeks to assign one registered nurse for every public school in the country.
Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City) said House Bill 6489 underscores the importance for Filipino students to have access to basic health care services in their schools to make them healthy and productive citizens.
Vargas said a student's health condition affects his or her ability to learn. "It is a known fact that children with unmet health needs have difficult time learning in school," he said, adding that the number of students with special health care needs and chronic conditions has increased over the past decade.
Vargas, vice chair of the House Committees on Health and on Social Services, proposed that the Department of Education (DepEd), in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) and other concerned agencies, shall employ at least one registered nurse in every public school.
"The assigned nurse shall help ensure the learning success of students by providing basic health care services and relevant knowledge on wellness, hygiene, sanitation, and other health safety measures to students," he said.
Under the bill, the DepED shall secure the assistance of the DOH in recruiting, selecting and training, the registered nurses employed by public schools to ensure their capacity in addressing the public health and wellness concerns of the students.
The measure also mandates the DOH to issue guidelines setting the qualifications of nurses to be deployed to public schools and to develop a module for the relevant training of these nurses. The guidelines to be set shall in no case discriminate against the hiring of fresh graduates or newly passed registered nurses.
To qualify for the position, the applicant must have a valid RN license issued by the Professional Regulatory Commission; must be willing to relocate to the assigned area for a designated period; and must have passion for public health.
The bill further states that nurses employed under this Act shall be entitled to a monthly stipend equal to Salary Grade 15, consistent with the mandatory minimum entry-level pay for government nurses under Republic Act No. 9173, otherwise known as the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002.