Xavier Magazine

Filling a Need

While Western nations exploit the Philippines to fill a worldwide nursing shortage, Xavier is turning to the impoverished country with a plan to fill the country’s desperate need for well-educated nurses and nursing instructors. Backed by a grant from the Global Scholarship Alliance, department of nursing chair Sue Schmidt spent a week in Manila in October interviewing more than 70 nurses who want to earn a master’s degree in the U.S. All have bachelor’s degrees, but most Filipino nurses can’t find jobs in their country because hospitals can’t afford to pay them. Most leave to work in foreign countries, draining the Philippines of qualified nurses and teachers.

“The health problems there are unbelievable,” Schmidt says. “We hope to send them back so they can help their own country out.”

Schmidt says the University was approached by the alliance, which offered to pay the tuition of Filipino students who, in return, must agree to return home and work in hospitals or teach in nursing schools for at least two years.

Schmidt expects to accept about 30 Filipino students for the spring semester. “Xavier is actually feeding the country instead of stealing from it,” she says.

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