The Philippine-Spain war in the 1890s sparked the nursing practice in the country, with women tending to wounded soldiers; it was also a catalyst for the establishment of the Philippine Red Cross. Nursing education and training were introduced by Americans in 1907 as a result of American missionary doctors recognizing a lack of manpower in their activities. These efforts took root at the Iloilo Mission Hospital.
The official nursing profession began in 1920, as did the first nursing board exam. Since then, nursing education in the Philippines has undergone a series of reforms and regulatory measures to shape the current standards of the field.
A significant milestone in nursing education occurred in 2017 when the Commission on Higher Education mandated the shift from a competency-based to an outcomes-based approach. Clinical experiences are incorporated early in their education, as are administrative, management, and research training. The duration of nursing education spans four years, with opportunities for postgraduate studies available throughout the country.
What Are the First Three Schools of Nursing in the Philippines?
The first three schools of nursing in the Philippines are the Philippine General Hospital School of Nursing and Mary Johnston Hospital and School of Nursing, both built in 1907, and Mary Chiles Hospital School of Nursing, built in 1911. These institutions paved the way for the development of nursing education in the country and served as models for other schools to follow.
Learn More: How to Become a Nurse in the Philippines
Is Tuition Free in Nursing Schools in the Philippines?
First-time university students enrolling in an undergraduate degree nursing program do not have to pay any tuition fees in the Philippines. Furthermore, universities in the Philippines cater to the needs of students who require further support with other fees like accommodation and book fees. Students planning on enrolling in a graduate program, however, have to pay tuition fees which are more often than not symbolic. The University of the Philippines- Manila charges $300 per 15 unites with international students having to pay an extra $500.
Top Nursing Schools in the Philippines
1. University of Santo Tomas
The University of Santo Tomas is a Catholic university that is known for being Asia’s oldest university and for being one of the first to establish a nursing college. The Commission on Higher Education granted it autonomous status in 2002, and it is home to several national treasures.
The ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance has accredited it, and the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) has granted it level IV accreditation, the highest level of recognition a private agency can bestow.
As one of the best nursing schools in the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas – College of Nursing has summer terms and offers first years practical training. Under the supervision of hospital staff and college instructors, practical training is conducted at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital.
In collaboration with local health units, visits to the community and other health centers are also arranged. The first year’s tuition fee is US$1,137, the second and third years’ tuition fees are US$1,900, and the fourth year’s tuition fee is US$1,740.
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2. Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan
When it was granted university status in 1958, Ateneo de Cagayan has been renamed the Xavier University – Ateneo of Cagayan. The university, which is located in Northern Mindanao, has a reputation for providing excellent professional and leadership training. The university had to open more courses and accommodate more students as a result of the growing demand for education in the rapidly developing region.
The College of Nursing was established in 1988 and re-opened in 2002. In collaboration with the Sisters of St Paul de Chartres and the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, students from the College of Medicine are accommodated for practical exposure at the university’s hospital, the Maria Reyna – Xavier University Hospital.
Through its Office of international cooperation and networking, the university also has partnerships with international organizations.
Its College of Nursing continues to be one of the best-performing nursing schools in the country, with graduates consistently ranking in the top ten on licensure exams. Its mission is to provide high-quality nurses to the country’s most underserved areas, so it organizes community immersion and health-related programs in these areas. Tuition ranges from US$930 to US$1170 per year on average.
Learn More: Best Scholarships in the Philippines
3. Benguet State University
The university, which started as La Trinidad Farm School in 1916 providing elementary education, underwent major changes and reformation before becoming a state university in 1986. It is currently classified as a SUC Level IV institution, the highest level of categorization given by the Commission of Higher Education to State Universities and Colleges (SUC).
The university is heavily invested in research and has previously collaborated on research projects with international organizations. The research collaboration has expanded to include international partners’ research grants and training opportunities.
The nursing program has a promotion and retention process in which students must meet certain criteria to progress to the next level of their education. Tuition for all undergraduate programs is free because it is a state university.
4. The University of the Philippines – Manila
In response to the growing demand for professional studies such as medicine, law, engineering, and applied sciences, the University of the Philippines was founded in 1908 on a recommendation to the Philippine Commission. The university has expanded to include eight constituent universities across the country. Its eighth established university is the University of the Philippines – Manila.
Its College of Nursing was founded in 1948 as a result of Julita Sotejo’s thesis at the University of Chicago, which was approved by the university. The master’s program in nursing began in 1955, and the doctoral program began in 1979. The University of the Philippines – Manila is among the top nursing institutions in the Philippines, with the College of Nursing having a 100% passing rate on nursing licensure exams since its inception.
The university has clinical affiliations with the Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Medical Center, and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, as well as community immersion with the Manila Health Department and the Province of Cavite. Undergraduate programs are free of charge, while graduate programs cost an average of US$325 per semester.
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5. Cebu Normal University
The Philippine Normal Schools is yet another one of the best nursing schools in the Philippines. It is a state university run by civil American teachers when it was founded in 1901. In 1902, the Cebu Normal University was founded, along with other normal schools in Ilocos, Bicol, Iloilo, and Mindanao.
The university began as a provincial high school, which opened in 1925 and was converted to a tertiary institution in 1954. Its nursing program, along with other health-related programs, first opened in 1978.
Since its inception, the College of Nursing has collaborated with Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center to provide education and clinical experience to its students. It is among the top-performing schools in nursing education having a high national passing rate for its nursing graduates in the licensure exams.
Tuition for undergraduate programs is free; for master’s programs, tuition ranges from US$80 to US$200 per year; and for the entire doctoral program, tuition is US$835.
The Philippines is home to some of the best nursing schools in the world, with a rich history of nursing education dating back to the early 1900s. The country’s nursing programs have undergone various reforms and regulations over the years, leading to the current nursing standards.
Along with choosing the best nursing school, make sure to check out our guide about becoming a nurse in the Philippines, and start your journey to becoming the passionate and skilled nurse that the world demands.
We hope this article on the best nursing schools in the Philippines was informative and insightful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.