Nursing Education in the Philippines: Nursing Curriculum Now 5 Years

Nursing Education Update: Nursing Education the Philippines will never be the same again.  Nursing, as a course in college, may no longer be as attractive as before starting this school year. In my post “New Philippine Nursing Curriculum and Opposing Views”, the Philippine Nursing Curriculum has dramatically changed since the Commission on Higher Education’s issuance of CHED Memorandum Order (MO) No. 5, series of 2008 otherwise known as “Policies and Standards for Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program”. This CHED Memo makes BSN a five-year course.

Here in Ilocos Norte, Nursing schools have started the implementation of CHED MO this school year (2008-2009). Many people (parents, students and teachers interviewed by this author) have protested either in silence or explicit ways the implementation of CHED MO No. 5 saying that this will only add to the burdens of parents and benefactors of Nursing students (usually relatives abroad).

From my initial findings, the new Nursing Curriculum in the Philippines will effect these changes:

  • Instead of the usual 79 units taken up by first year nursing students, the new guidelines will require students to take up 93 units in 2,632 hours.
  • Additional 357 hours for hospital training or Related Learning Experiences (RLEs) which will make RLEs 2,499 hours from the previous 2,142 hours
  • 28 additional units or about three summers of schooling

For freshmen Nursing students, the “Theoretical Foundation in Nursing” is included in the first semester, and “Fundamentals of Nursing Practice” in the second.

From a parent’s standpoint, these changes have huge impacts on their family’s finances and other children’s education. Some parents I have interviewed said they might be forced to sacrifice the education of some of their children just to give way to their child taking up BS Nursing. There is now more pressure on the part of the Nursing student because family expectations have become higher.

From an educator’s standpoint, if CHED intended to “upgrade” or improve the existing Nursing Curriculum, they should have included in the new one some foreign language subjects (French, German, Norwegian or Spanish). This is because the ultimate goal of most Filipino Nurses is to go abroad and earn more money. Since this is the case, why shouldn’t CHED include in the New Nursing Curriculum subjects that will help our Nursing students communicate better with foreigners speaking languages other than English? This is perhaps an oversight on the part of our policy makers. If CHED wanted to equip our Nursing students with new tools, it should have been in the area of communication and NOT in the the area of Related Learning Experiences because Nursing students have enough RLEs. Well, that’s just my take.

For more details and additional info on this subject, please go to this link: New Philippine Nursing Curriculum and Opposing Views.

You might also want to read my post titled “Oversupply of Nurses in the Philippines Largely Contributes to the Philippine Unemployment Rate” to gain further insight on the number of unemployed or underemployed Nursing graduates in the Philippines.

If you are interested in the NLE November 2008 results, browse the list of board passers of the November 2008 Nursing board exam via that article. :-)

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20 Comments on “Nursing Education in the Philippines: Nursing Curriculum Now 5 Years”

  1. […] For the changes in the New Nursing Curriculum by virtue of CHED MO No.5, click here Nursing Education in the Philippines: Nursing Curriculum Now 5 Years and see if the the problem on oversupply of nurses in the Philippines can be solved by these […]

  2. i totally agree with everything you’ve said!

    to make nursing into a 5year course may somehow be a good idea academically, since students will hopefully learn more. and adding a foreign language will do benefit if not all, most of them; since they will soon be applying for jobs abroad.

    like what you’ve said, adding one more year means more units that equals to more MONEY! and yes, that will be a huge pressure for any student whose siblings were interrupted just to give way to his/her nursing course.

    oh wel . . .

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    jessie reply on August 13th, 2008:


    Yeah, it could be a good idea but the repercussions: many parents will have a harder time sending their children to a Nursing school and other members of the family could suffer. On the other hand, it could a be possible solution to the ever-growing enrollment of incoming first-year Nursing students in the country. About the communication subjects (foreign languages), I strongly believe they are the most feasible alternative to the extended RLEs of Nursing students. In summary, the new Nursing curriculum in the Philippines sucks in many respects!

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  3. “to make nursing into a 5year course may somehow be a good idea academically” – the best way

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  4. there’s a slowdown in the nursing enrollment this year. too many unemployed nurses around.

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    jessie reply on August 13th, 2008:


    That’s the expected trend starting this school year and maybe the good that this will bring will outweigh the negative impacts parents are experiencing at this early stage. In Ilocos Norte, parents are about to rally regarding the implementation of CHED MO no. 5 claiming that the new Nursing curriculum is anti-poor. Well, that’s how they view it. On one hand, in the future, their reactions to the long-term effects of the new curriculum could be different.

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  5. Oh my, you mean that those who were expecting to graduate this year will still continue for another one year? I can imagine the frustration of the expectant especially those parents who are struggling. I also agree with regards of adding a foreign language curriculum so that the nurses don’t need to study a certain language anymore required for a certain country when they’ll go abroad. No more separate study kumbaga even though english naman talaga ang common.
    Maybe you’re also aware fren na there are illegal school of nursing kaya siguro inemplement na nang CHED yan. So, we just hope for the better changes and more better nurses in the future.

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    jessie reply on August 13th, 2008:


    I missed to verify that one. I’ll check it out with some clinical instructors here what happens next to the (supposed-to-be) graduating Nursing class this school year. At any rate, the new nursing curriculum is creating a lot of problems to all parties involved. Even CI’s are confused.

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  6. Its both bad news and good news kuya. Academically, it will improve the Nursing students, financially it is a burden, especially to those parents who have to work hard just to send thier children to school. I agree, including foreign languages in the curriculum would benefit them a lot. It was like that sa Pharmacy course before kuya, it was 5 years, then back to 4 years, when I was graduating in high school, Pharmacy that time was 5yrs, nung ng first yr college na ako it went back to 4yrs.

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    jessie reply on August 16th, 2008:


    i’m not sure if the same thing will happen in the nursing curriculum. a rollback to the 4-year curriculum is highly unllikely to happen as of this writing. nursing schools in the philippines make a lot of money from nusring students. rolling back to the old curriculum in nursing will spell financial trouble on the part of the school and its stock holders (because most nursing schools are private). it’s all about the money, baby!

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  7. Additional cost if one year will be added to the cir. maybe this move was trigger by the scandal in cebu… welll ganyan ang buhay.

    jessie reply on August 16th, 2008:


    Exactly. If you have been reading the news and aware of social issues, you will not question the real reason behind this development in the new nursing curriculum.

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  8. I think it’s a wise decision to make it 5 years.

    First of all, this will ensure that the students can learn more and secondly, it might discourage those who just want to take up nursing because it’s a “ticket to abroad”.

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    jessie reply on August 16th, 2008:


    For now, I think so too. But some of the problems in the new nursing curriculum is the forced entry of subjects or RLE hours. Like I said, I think if CHED wishes to upgrade the nursing curriculum, it should be in the area where students are weak – language and communication, not in the RLE. Maybe after a year or two, CHED will be able find ways to address the weaknesses in the new nursing curriculum. If not, then it better rollback to the old one.

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  9. […] be blamed. Quality of nursing education is becoming lower each year and adding another year to the New 5-Year Nursing Curriculum in the Philippines is not a practical solution if the primary objective of this new curriculum is to control the […]

  10. its really unbelievably hard if 5 yrs na ang nursing. magastos talaga and jobs are not guaranteed. there are lot of courses anyway not just nursing. making it a 5-year course will not discouraged students to take up nursing if they really wanted to be a nurse. what CHED should do is to strictly implement their regulations regarding approval for putting up nursing schools. bawat kanto na yata may nursing schools na eh dahil inapproved nila to operate..producing low quality of nursing graduate and low passing rate sa boards. let’s look into the roots of this issue, don’t let the students suffer and their parents…

  11. […] and even from some school administrators. CHED MO No. 5 aims to extend the present four-year Philippine Nursing curriculum to 5 years with the addition of 2 semesters or 3 summer terms more to the existing BSN curriculum. […]

  12. […] partial results analyzed reveal that the 5-Year Nursing Curriculum is generally viewed by many as “insignificant and waste of resources”. This now brings […]

  13. pls post the latest new BSN curriculum as of today thanks

  14. I am suppose to graduate this coming Oct 2010, but since I have 4 new additional subjects due to the new curriculum. I will be forced to enroll another semester and will have my academics graduation April 2011. I can have my clinical graduation in Oct 2010 but will have to wait to finish off those 4 additional subjects for 1 semester. I don’t know how it works here in the Philippines. I started nursing in 2004, so my curriculum is different but my dean told me that my curriculum changed due to the new revised curriculum. I am wondering if thats how it really is? I always thought if I started with a 2004 curriculum, I stick to that curriculum? And is it right that I have 4 additional subjects thats going to hold me back a semester? My parents expect me to me home by Nov and to stay for good, not have to return again for a semester?
    I am just about to give up!!!