NLE May 2022 Results: Highest Passing Rate Since 1996
The result of the May 2022 Philippine Nurse Licensure Examinations (PNLE) has finally been released, and so far, the numbers are looking pretty good. A total of 9,729 aspiring nurses took the exam last May 29 and 30, 6,616 of which have successfully passed. This is equivalent to a 68.00% passing rate, which is a 3.35 percentage point increase versus last year’s first semester passing rate. 2021’s first semester NLE saw a mere 7,746 takers on July 3 and 4, 5,008 of which have passed the exam which is equivalent to a 64.65% passing rate. Take note that last year’s first semester NLE was the first time that aspiring nurses were able to take the exam ever since COVID-19 happened as the two 2020 NLEs were suspended for safety reasons.
Highest Semestral Pass Rate Since 1996
Appendix I: NLE Pass Rates, 1996 - 2022
Most remarkable about this semester’s reading is how it reached the highest NLE semestral passing rate that we have on record. Since 1996, an average of 42.58% would usually pass the exam. And though the July 2021 result initially beat it with a high 64.7% passing rate, this record was quickly broken by May 2022. A variety of factors could’ve influenced this back-to-back record-breaking result, but we are looking at two possible reasons.
First, the suspension of the 2020 NLEs may have given many nurses more time to prepare, thus, better chances of passing the exam. Because aspiring nurses who wanted to take the exam in 2020 weren’t able to do so, a good of number of them who have started reviewing probably had even more time to prepare as they were only able to take it the following year. These individuals may have even focused better on their preparations since most of them are just at home and not yet employed. The 2021 NLEs, then, were taken by a combination of aspiring nurses who really planned on taking it in 2021—plus those who initially prepared for the exam back in 2020, but were only able to take it when it was already resumed.
Second, many of the takers in 2021 and 2022 were among the first graduates of the new K-12 academic curriculum. This curriculum involves an additional 2 years of studying before students can graduate college, which may have prepared these nursing students better for the NLEs.
Number of NLE Takers Bounce Back from Last Year
Despite the many problems that COVID-19 has brought healthcare workers, not to mention the deployment cap that’s continuously being imposed on them, the May 2022 NLE result seems to show a continuing interest in the nursing profession. There may have been a slight decline of NLE takers in July 2021, but this was immediately followed by an increase in May 2022.
Appendix II: First Semester NLE Takers, 1996 – 2022
Could this be due to the greater attention being given to nursing and healthcare as a result of the pandemic? Or could this be a renewed interest in migrating abroad, especially since becoming a nurse is a popular pathway towards it? Only time will be able to tell, but we’re all hoping that the trend will carry on in the next few years.
NLE Takers and Passers still Low versus 2010
Similar to our analyses of the NLEs in the previous years, the number of NLE takers and passers this year remain to be very far from the numbers back in 2010, the golden age of nursing in the Philippines. 2010’s first semester result showed 91,008 NLE takers, 37,679 (41.4%) of which have passed the exam: Its full year result, on the other hand, showed 175,288 takers, 67,390 (38.45%) of which have passed the exam.
Appendix 3: Raw Data of NLE Passers and Takers from 1996 - 2022
The sudden downtrend in the number of NLE takers and passers in the years thereafter was largely influenced by the moratorium that CHED imposed last 2010. The moratorium effectively stopped the opening of all undergraduate and graduate nursing programs from September 30, 2010 onwards due to the dwindling quality of the programs at that time. This is evident in the declining passing rates from the late 1990s until the early 2000s. However, the unattractive compensation and benefit of nurses in the Philippines; the costly and complicated process of applying abroad; the burgeoning BPO industry growing to become an alternative career; and the lack of focus on the nursing field by the local government have surely affected the numbers as well.
Our nurses played a pivotal role during the pandemic, and they will continue to be relevant to the world in the coming years. But without giving them the support that they need, it shouldn’t be a surprise anymore if the 2010 NLE statistics become nothing more than a fantasy that we’ll never reach again.