This paper is an exploration of the perceptions of Filipino nurses on their current status and work conditions after passing the Japanese Licensure Examination for nurses, their plans in light of their conditions, and their views on the implementation of Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA.
Individual interviews were conducted in July 2012 with six Filipino nurses who passed the Japanese licensure examination. The study parrticipants have been working as staff nurses in five tertiary health care facilities in Japan. The interview was held in the hospital premises. Permission to conduct the interview was given by the participants themselves, with consent of their employers.
The narratives of the six Filipino nurses revealed that preparation for the Japanese licensure examination was a difficult challenge that required personal effort and institutional support. Passing the national examination has brought encouraging changes in their nursing functions, salaries and benefits, interpersonal relationships, and professional image. However, language barrier and communication problems persist. Most of them were uncertain whether to stay long or not in Japan.
In pursuit of international cooperation particularly on the movement of natural persons, JPEPA can have a bright prospect if both countries address difficulties arising from language and cultural barriers. Further, regulatory measures need to be strengthened to ensure the quality and protection of nurses and care workers.