So, Where in the World are All The Nurses?


If you take all the NLE (Nurse Licensure Exams) data from 2000 to 2008 (click here for data), you will find out that there had been 224,977 registered nurses for that 8 year-period. Where have these RN's all gone?

They couldn't have been all employed by the Philippines' medical clinics or hospitals. Among the more than 2,300 hospitals in the Philippines, there couldn't be a need for that hundred-thousand nurses.

So, where are they?

No one know for sure. Most of them could have gone overseas, some may have stayed and worked in the country, some could have engaged in another profession or occupation, others could have been part of the non-working statistics.

But some other figures could give people an idea of where most of them are. POEA figures for instance show that a good number of them -- at least 90,117 of them -- could have left, have worked, and might still be working in other countries. Below are top 11 destinations of Filipino nurses, in the last 9 years.

The above table shows that more than 90,000 Filipinos left as nurses, with working visas. Nurses who left on EB3 or immigrant visas to the U.S. or any country (Canada, Australia, New Zeland) are not accounted for in this table. Also not included are those who went to other countries without POEA documentation, or who went as visitors and later worked as nurses. The total of 90,000 may be an understated figure.

The above statistics would show that Saudi Arabia is the destination with the most number of Filipino nurses. The total of 53,000 does not mean that there are many nurses in that Kingdom right now. Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia are usually on renewable contracts, and there are no figures to show how many have stayed on for further work.

In second is the United Kingdom. The number were registered in the years 2000 to 2003, when NHS Trust opened its doors to Filipino nurses. Since 2004, the U.K. door has started to close.

Similarly, Ireland occupies a high position, number 4, mostly because of the heydays in 2001 and 2002. Nowadays, Ireland, like the United Kingdom, has nearly-closed doors for Filipino nurses.

In third place is UAE, which has been the recipient of many Filipino nurses starting 2005. The 4,000 figure may be understated, as there are many Filipino nurses who go first on visit visas before they convert their status to working visas.

In number 5 is the U.S.A. which showed an average of 200 nurse-deployments every year. Again, thi is an understated figure, as a huge number of Filipino nurses have left on immigrant visas starting 1998 up to about 2006. The 9-year total for the U.S. should be at least 12,000 enough to crowd out U.K. as the second most-favored destination of Filipino nurses.

So, one more time: where in the world have all the Filipino nurses gone? We don't know for sure. but we can estimate that out of the 220,000 registered nurse in the last 9 years, about 100, 000 of them have gone for work abroad. And it is likely that most of them have worked in Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, U.S.A., the U.A.E., and Ireland.

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