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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Doctors becoming nurses

It's true for those trained overseas. The licensing requirements are so stringent that some are taking work in the nursing field. There is a vast shortage of nurses, just go to any hospital and see how many were born and trained in the Philippines.

My sister-in-law Leonette was trained as a nurse in PI. She came to the USA legally in 1999, now she is a citizen here. A doctor friend of hers will be coming here to work as a nurse soon. Poverty is that bad in the PI, the politicians steal the public blind. Filipinos and Filipinas see their hopes elsewhere. As long as the US has a need for nurses, they will keep coming from overseas.

Before anyone says anything, we're talking people who came to the US legally. I'm pro legal immigration, I'd like it made easier for some. Part of the Miami Herald article is below. Go to my link above to read the whole thing.

Open Post- Freedom Watch, Bright & Early, Blue Star, Right Wing Nation,

When Tony Noya and Peggy deCardenas moved to South Florida, they came with big dreams. After all, both had spent nearly a third of their lives planning to be doctors, attending college and graduating medical schools in Cuba and Africa.

But almost immediately, both hit a wall that some foreign-trained doctors -- mostly from the Caribbean and South America -- have been running into for decades: daunting exams required by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, followed by mandatory training under U.S. standards, followed by a final three-part licensing exam.

Noya and deCardenas familiarized themselves with the exams and knew they would be deficient in some areas, including math and their English language skills. But they couldn't afford to pay for remedial classes, so their medical careers languished.

They worked in retail stores and as medical records clerks. The closest deCardenas came to medical work was drawing blood at a small clinic.

That might have been as far as Noya and deCardenas could take their careers had they not found the Foreign Physician-to-Nursing Program, a charter program at Florida International University that transitions foreign-educated doctors to registered nurses.

''I've heard so many stories like theirs, having to work as cab drivers and grocery store baggers and whatever they can find,'' said Divina Grossman, dean of the Florida International University's School of Nursing, which has operated Physician-to-Nursing for four years.

``There's nothing wrong with those jobs. But when you've worked so hard to build a career that many feel is a calling as much as an occupation, you can understand how disheartening it could be.''


The program is fueled by the growing shortage of registered nurses in the United States -- currently more than 100,000 such jobs are vacant, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That dovetailed with Grossman's desire to help foreign-trained physicians who couldn't pass the licensing exams. But even Grossman was at first unaware of how many people would respond to the program.

''Honestly, I was aware of this problem, the plight of these people, but not the extent of it,'' she said. ``So I called two Cuban doctors in Miami, who I knew very well. I left them a message asking if they knew of anyone like this, and then I went on vacation.''

When she returned a week later, Grossman's secretary presented her with about 350 telephone messages from people interested in the program.


Since it began in May 2002, nearly 1,000 foreign-trained doctors applied to the program, Grossman said. Fewer than half made it through the screening process, which requires a level of English language proficiency, as well as basic reading and math skills.

So tough is the screening that the first class had only 40 people. By the third class, that number had risen to just 100.

JoAnne Plumlee, interim chief nursing officer for Kendall Regional Medical Center, said the graduates her facility has hired have largely been successful. ''The great thing is, because of their histories as doctors, most bring a knowledge base to nursing that is far more extensive than a traditional nursing graduate,'' Plumlee said.

But there's been no friction with traditionally trained nurses. ''You wouldn't know that they were physicians before,'' Plumlee said, explaining that is a compliment because it means they have adapted to their new roles without ego issues.

And Silvia Stradi, a nursing supervisor for Cedars Medical Center, which has offered jobs to Noya and deCardenas, said Physician-to-Nursing has allowed her hospital to diversify staff. ''We see this as a program that will enhance our patient care and improve our communication with our growing Hispanic population,'' Stradi added.

For Noya, 35, and deCardenas, 29, FIU's program revived hopes for a medical career.


Long before they met and married in Miami, they were on parallel paths.

They grew up in the same town, Santiago de Cuba, and attended the same high school, although in different years. After deciding as teenagers that they wanted to be doctors, they both were accepted into the same medical school, Universidad de Medicina de Santiago de Cuba.

All the while, neither knew the other existed.

Noya spent six years at the Cuban medical school, before leaving in 1994, to finish his studies at the Universidad de Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique, where his epidemiologist father had spent 20 years working with HIV/AIDS patients.

As deCardenas was just settling into med school in Santiago de Cuba, Noya was just wrapping up a yearlong stint as a public health officer in Mozambique for Doctors Without Borders, and in 1997 was moving to Miami with a plan to practice medicine.

''Almost right away I became saddened because I found it was an impossible task to meet all the requirements to be a doctor here,'' Noya said. Aside from meeting more stringent U.S. medical requirements, Noya's English was, back then, barely conversational and his math skills were deficient.

While Noya was struggling with the realities of the U.S. medical system, deCardenas was still in medical school, but was convinced Cuba was not where she wanted to practice.

''This is not a career about money,'' she said. ``but you expect doctors to receive very good compensation, no? Well, in Cuba a very good physician, with experience -- years of experience -- might be lucky to earn $30 per month.''

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