NLE June 2019 Results: More Passers, Fewer Takers

The Philippine Regulation Commission (PRC) has released the results of the Nurse Licensure Exams that took place last June 2 and 3, 2019. This year’s first semester results shows a higher number of passers versus the June 2018 NLEs, with June 2019 accumulating 5,059 passers whereas June 2018 only had 4,326 passers. June 2019's pass rate of 52.20% is also a significant improvement versus June 2018’s, as this is equivalent to an 8.38% point jump compared to last year’s 42.82% pass rate.

Appendix 1: First Semester NLE Passers and Pass Rates

With the continuous decline in the number of Filipino nurses in recent years, it’s tempting to deduce that the NLE is finally on an uptrend. However, three important observations must be considered.

First, though June 2019 had more passers than June 2018, June 2019 actually had less takers than June 2018. An improvement in pass rate can be a result of 2 factors: a higher quantity of passers, or a lower quantity of takers. The significant difference between June 2018 and June 2019’s pass rates was a result of both: June 2018 had a total of 9,873 takers, while June 2019 had 9,691. This shows that even though more individuals have passed versus same period of last year, there are still less individuals willing to take the NLEs in the first place. This, in effect, demonstrates the continuous decline of Filipinos who want to become registered nurses, and is still a problem for many health care institutions both here and abroad.

Appendix 2: First Semester NLE Takers and Passers

Second, the next semester’s NLE result may still tell a different story. The PRC implements the NLE twice every year, but nursing schools are usually the ones who instruct students which between the 2 NLEs to take. Schools like West Visayas State University-La Paz and Ateneo de Zamboanga would usually have their students take the first semester NLE, whereas University of Sto. Tomas and Saint Louis University would opt for the second semester. Majority of the other nursing schools would allocate an almost balanced number of takers to the 2 semesters, though this may still vary year-on-year. These differences may be a result of varying curriculum types or schedules, or the nursing schools’ objective to maintain their rankings and pass rates. The full story can only be told once both semesters’ results have already been released. This year’s second semester NLE will take place on December 2019.

Lastly, June 2019’s number of passers and takers are still significantly low compared to the previous years’.

Appendix 3: NLE Passers and Takers from 1996 - 2019 (per year)

2010 was the golden year for the NLE, accumulating an all-time high of 175,288 takers and 67,390 passers. This is equivalent to 37,679 passers out of 91,008 takers in July 2010 and 29,711 passers out of 84,287 takers in December 2010. During this year, more than 200 out of the 460 plus nursing schools had at least 100 students take the exam per semester. These numbers took a sharp decline from 2011, and has kept on moving downwards ever since. Schools, news outlets and the government attribute this continuous decline to a combination of factors: the much longer and more expensive nurse application process for those who want to work in the U.S. or other overseas countries; the lack of competitive opportunities in the Philippines; the attractive compensation that other types of profession offer (such as call centers and BPOs); and even the longer and more expensive K-12 academic curriculum. Whatever the cause may be, one thing’s for certain: Much work is left to be done to bring back the nursing profession’s former attractiveness among Filipinos.

Appendix 4: Raw Data of NLE Passers and Takers from 1996 - 2019 (per semester)

Karla Yu is the Special Projects Officer of Abba Personnel Services, Inc. She joined the team last August 2016 and has pioneered several projects ever since, such as the company's Marketing standards and practices; the Apply Online System; and Abba's sister company Tracker, an overseas licensing agency. She was a former brand management practitioner handling internationally-recognized brands, such as URC's C2 Cool and Clean and McDonald's Breakfast / 24 Hours. She is an Honorable Mention graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University's BS Communications Technology Management curriculum, and was one of the business course's top 10 students.

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