Hong Kong — Nurses may be hired from the Philippines
Territory losing 800 government nurses each year to private sector and overseas
The Hospital Authority, which is suffering from a serious shortage of nurses, is prepared to hire those in the Philippines. It will also consider former Filipino nurses now working as domestic helpers in Hong Kong if they meet the qualifications.
There is a global shortage of nurses and the authority, which has 20,000 nurses, is losing about 800 a year to the private sector and overseas.
The authority wants to recruit at least 1,300 nurses in this financial year but expects fewer than 1,200 posts will be filled. It is setting up a high-level task force to find ways to plug the brain drain and one solution is to recruit from the Philippines.
According to Joseph Lee Kok-long, the chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff
Whatever nationality you may be, you are all welcome to sit for the Nursing Council of Hong Kong’s practising certificate. It’s open to everyone
Nurses from overseas must pass a test certified by the council before they can be accepted as a registered nurse in the city. The test is in two parts–one written and one practical. It can be done in English.
The applicants must also have recognised qualifications from their home countries before they take the test. They will then undergo interviews to assess their suitability, experience, knowledge and skills, an authority spokesman said.
Many former Filipino nurses are already working in Hong Kong as domestic helpers. Some are working essentially as carers for the elderly in the families.
The language problem is an obvious stumbling block. The authority said that as patients in public hospitals are predominantly Cantonese speakers, knowledge of the dialect would be a preferred attribute in the selection process.
“One obvious criteria is that nurses speak Cantonese,” Lee said.
Many former Filipino nurses have learned Cantonese while working as domestic helpers. One, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that because she was classified as a domestic helper, she had not applied to work as a nurse.
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