Lourdes C. Salandanan
Carmen Abaquin, Chair of Philippine Board of Nursing; Lourdes Salandanan; Josefina Tuazon, Dean of UP, College of Nursing
As a global ambassador for the Honor Society for Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, I held several meetings this summer with other Sigma Theta Tau members and stakeholders residing in the Philippines.
On 24 June 2008, I met with Lambda Chi Chapter member Rusty Francisco, RN, EdD. After working for 20 years as an RN and receiving his doctorate degree in Florida, he returned to the Philippines to establish his educational consultant career. As a resident of the country, he has a strong understanding of the current situation of the local nursing education and profession. As a Sigma Theta Tau International member, he is a trustworthy stakeholder for the organization.
During our first meeting, we discussed the main concern the Philippine nurses have cited: monetary restrictions. They felt that the average annual membership fee was prohibitive. Rusty was concerned that there was no nursing program accreditation process similar to the U.S. based accreditation. There was also a concern that certain individuals may wish to dilute the nomination and invitation process thus diminishing the prestige of the organization. We also identified other Sigma Theta Tau members currently residing in the Philippines who are determined to maintain the reputation of the organization and its members. Rusty was also able to identify interested, well-respected and accomplished nurse leaders and academicians residing in the Philippines.
Rusty provided me with pertinent and new information about nursing in the Philippines including the improvement of the nursing curriculum. We discussed the status of the different colleges of nursing and their students’ RN exam passing rate which is an indicator of the quality of their education. We also took the time to develop a plan to establish a chapter in the country. The plan was very similar to the steps delineated by Sigma Theta Tau International and available on the website but was more specific to nursing profession in the country and its culture.
Rusty and I scheduled our second meeting on 3 July 2008 along with identified community nurse leaders including:
- Leah Paquiz, President of the Philippine Nursing Association (PNA)
- Carmen Abaquin, the Chairperson of the Philippine Board of Nursing
- Josefina Tuazon, the Dean of the University of the Philippines
- Leonora Reyes, Dean of the Lyceum of the Philippines
- Sigma Theta Tau International Members:
- Rusty Francisco
- Lourdes Salandanan
- Erlinda Palaganas
- Isabelita Guiao
The meeting was held at the Philippine Nursing Association Building in Manila. I was given the floor to speak about Sigma Theta Tau, its vision, mission, and benefits of membership. I explained the membership fee scale for members residing outside the U.S. This information brought a sigh of relief to the attendees since their fees will be much lower than Sigma Theta Tau International members who reside in the U.S. Since there was no existing accreditation process in the country, the meeting participants decided that the University of the Philippines, College of Nursing (UPCN) will be the university base for the new chapter.
The University of the Philippines (UP) is known as the premier university in the Philippines. The UPCN was designated as the World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHOCC) for Nursing Development in Primary Health Care from March 1989 to March 2001. It was re-designated as WHOCC for Leadership in Nursing Development from January 2004 to January 2008. The college was also designated as a Center of Excellence by the Commission on Higher Education. Since its inception in 1948, the college graduates have a 100% passing rate for first time takers of the national Registered Nurse board exam. It is the only college of nursing in the Philippines with such a reputation. Once the group came to this decision, we then started to devise a plan to engage the key nursing leaders in this initiative.
Iota Sigma Chapter member Erlinda will distribute the Sigma Theta Tau informational materials at the upcoming national nursing research program entitled, “Adventures of Nursing Research: Stories from the Field”. The program will take place in General Santos City, in the Philippines 13-14November 2008.
I had the privilege of attending the annual Sigma Theta Tau International Research Congress in Singapore where I met and listened to presentations by President Carol J. Huston and President-elect Karin H. Morin regarding the vision of Sigma Theta Tau International and chapter development. During the congress, I set aside time to meet with other Filipino speakers, presenters, and members who are all supportive of the establishment of a chapter in the Philippines.
Seated (left to right): Cecil Laurente, former Dean of UPCN; Thelma Corcega, former Dean of PCN; Glenda Vargas, Dean of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), College of Nursing; Josefina Tuazon, Dean of the UPCN; Lourdes Salandanan; Leah Samaco-Paquiz, President of the Philippine Nursing Association. Standing (center): Rusty Francisco with UPCN and UST faculty members.
On 16 July, Rusty and I met with the UPCN faculty. Present at the meeting was Dean Vargas and Assistant Dean Llanes of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) College of Nursing, also a well-known and reputable university in the Philippines. Leah Paquiz, President of the PNA was also present. I was once again given the opportunity to speak about the Sigma Theta Tau International, its vision, mission, and membership advantages. I also delineated the steps on establishing a chapter in the Philippines. A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the similarities and differences of basic nursing education in the US and the Philippines, resources available, and the importance in identifying and recognizing academic achievements of students.
By the end of the two hour meeting, the faculty members enthusiastically agreed to accept the establishment of a Sigma Theta Tau International chapter at the University of the Philippines as a two year project, and a representative of the UP Faculty was appointed as the leader of the project, Prof. Lourdes Marie Tejero. Knowing that the two-year project will ultimately become a continuous project and long-term commitment, the assignment was enthusiastically accepted by Professor Tejero.