Perhaps Korea is one of the few countries in the world that does not import Filipino nurses. I haven’t seen a single Filipino nurse here, although I’ve met a Filipino doctor who was here for a fellowship. That was a few years ago and the Filipina doctor had since gone back to the Philippines for her residency.
This afternoon, a friend (let’s name her C) who finished her nursing course in the Philippines relayed the good news that she had passed the rigorous Korean board exam for nurses. We are all ecstatic since Korean exams are notorious for their difficulty. It was not her first time to take the exam and understandably so. The Korean board exam for Nurses is administered in the vernacular and C had to learn the language when she first came here ten years ago. After spending a few years in Korea, she went back to the Philippines to finish her course and came back after graduation.
I am not 100% sure about this, but C could be the first Filipino to pass the Korean nursing exam. Perhaps, she could also be the first southeast Asian? If she is, then she just made history ;p
What it means to us is that doors may open for more economic opportunity for Filipinos in Korea, albeit this may be limited (for now) to those who are married to Koreans or those with resident visas. What it means is that we don’t have to settle at being “hagwon” teachers and we could aspire to be something else (not that Jasmine Lee hadn’t done it but she is a truly rare breed). Of course, being a “hagwon” teacher is a noble job, but if I were a nurse in the Philippines I’d prefer to be a nurse here in Korea right?
So if you were a nurse or in any other allied health profession in the Philippines, don’t despair that you can’t practice your profession in Korea. Learn Korean and take the exam here. Of course, in C’s case she is married to a Korean and with her visa (F-6), she can work at any job here.
If you want to get information about taking the “National Health Professional Licensing Exam” in Korea, please visit their website. It’s available in English. Who knows you just might be the first Filipino doctor in Korea?
Update: To those who are asking for the identity of the subject here, I’m sorry but I promised that I won’t print her name.