Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dear Mr-or-Ms-Future-Nurse-who-might’ve-or-might’ve-not-cheated-in-the-licensure-exam,

I’d first like to say that I respect the field in which you’ve chosen to dedicate yourself to.

In a time when choice of profession entail certain avenues to simply escape the homeland, please do understand my skepticism in terms of your true intent upon taking up nursing.

But it doesn’t deny the fact that I believe nurses, whatever their original intent, always seem to do a good job.

I battled cancer when I was younger, and I say this not to evoke sympathy, rather to establish my familiarity with your field of choice. Over the course of a year, I saw firsthand the importance of nurses, and I don’t hesitate in saying that they were instrumental in my recovery.

The reason why I can look at these nurses with such high regard was that they were competent and qualified.

The recent controversy over the leakage of the nursing licensure examinations has greatly affected you and your peers. I understand the frustration.

I won’t accuse you of having taken advantage of the leakage. I can’t prove that. In fact, I’ll go as far as to bet that you took the test honestly and passed it cleanly.

You should be working in a hospital right now, finally earning something after your years of training. And you should be helping patience and their families through difficult times.

But you’re not.

What now? We wait and see anxiously.

What bureaucrats do is beyond our control and usually counterproductive. I won’t give them the time of day.

But I have a plea to you and your peers: Please want a retake. Please. It’s for your own good.

If you passed the first time, chances are you’ll pass if ever there’s a retake. So don’t worry.

Is it unfair? Yes. But given the unfair situation, be fair to yourself. However clean your passing, you’ll still be a part of the batch that went through the controversy. There will be a stigma.

It’s unrealistic to ask investigators to pinpoint who cheated and who didn’t. Yours will forever be a batch with an asterisk.

You deserve better than that as you look for employment here or abroad.

To clear the cloud over yourself, retake the test. A clean slate will yield an honest licensure exam where only the qualified will pass. Furthermore, you will be looked upon as noble legitimates—those willing to prove their worth amidst a chaotic situation.

In the true-to-life film Stand and Deliver, teacher Jaime Escalante takes over a less-than-desirable class in a public high school in East Los Angeles. After a year under Escalante’s tutelage, the students exceed expectations and pass an advance placement test, which was perceived unfeasible.

Met with skepticism, the results of the test were questioned by the school board. The students were forced to retake the test. They did. They all passed again.

The test of character was inevitably not when they finally got their acts together towards a purpose, it was when this newfound sense of direction was questioned.

You are in a similar crossroads. Yes, this is not your fault. Yes, this sucks. It’s unfair. But it’s what it is. You’ve gotten tangled up in the corrupt web of a reality that we live in.

Now do you just complain your way out of it? Or do you step up and end this mess for good?

There’s something at stake here. This goes beyond just your career. There are too many underpinnings to hide behind the victim card.

It’s in times like these, when institutions, systems, and even peers falter, heroes emerge, showing character, displaying strength.

When institutions falter, people stand up, rising from the ugliness man is capable of, and displaying his innate beauty.

Time is ticking.

I wish you the best of luck and clarity of thought.



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