This past summer, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) opened its first-ever NCLEX testing center in the Philippines–a country that is one of the world’s biggest exporters of foreign-educated nurses to the United States. Up until then, due to the lack of a test site in their own country, thousands of Filipino nurses who hoped to pursue careers in America had to travel abroad, often at their own considerable expense, to take the U.S. licensing exam.

As reported in the Spring 2007 issue of Minority Nurse, a great deal of credit for this breakthrough is due to the advocacy efforts of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA). For five years, PNAA leaders worked closely with the NCSBN and a coalition of other U.S. and Philippine organizations in an intensive effort to help make the Manila testing center a reality. Now the association has received the ultimate “thank you” for all its hard work: On September 26, the PNAA’s NCLEX Task Force was awarded a special citation by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The presidential citation, presented personally by Arroyo at a ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, recognizes the task force for “its initiative and efforts in campaigning at the NCSBN for the Philippines to be declared an international testing site for Filipino aspirants to the nursing profession in the United States; for undauntedly carrying on the cause, in spite of the long wait and the disappointments, never giving up hope but instead soliciting partners and supporters, traveling regularly to the Philippines and back, campaigning vigorously for success; [and] for showing the true spirit of commitment, reflecting that measure of generosity and compassion, dedication and professionalism, thus facilitating the ways and means for better opportunities for career advancement in the health care industry of the United States.”

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