NLE Board Rating: Does It Really Matter?


I just don’t get it: Nursing graduates have always been advised to study hard and aim to be a board topnotcher by their schools and review centers only to found out afterwards that securing a nursing position is a pain in the ass even for the cream of the crop. I guess, unemployment is now the great equalizer amongst Filipino nurses.

Now the question is this: Does NLE Board Rating still matter nowadays? Is it fair to say that NLE will measure your potential and capabilities as a nurse here in the Philippines?

I won’t deny the fact that I once aimed to be a nursing board topnotcher. I even started pouring my time and effort in reading nursing books one year before the actual exam. I thought it would be a great way to give myself justice for not being hailed as our batch cum laude. It was painstakingly time-consuming but eventually, I was able to top various exams both in our school and in the review center where I signed up after graduation. I thought I was on my way to the top but after the results were released last August 2011, all I’ve got was a mere 81.20%, a board rating not even close to the top 20 slot. But I have moved on and realized in the long run that it’s not the true measure of one’s worth as a nurse and as a human being. I even know of someone who got an impressive rating although she always slept in class so what’s the point? Is it all a matter of luck? I don’t give a damn. And just so you know, I’m an underemployed nurse now, just like the other board passers and board topnotchers who took the same exam. I guess, I had a misconception because grades really won’t matter at all.

So what is my point here?

That most Filipinos have been trapped to the false idea that being on the top of the class will give someone a sure spot for employment and an easy ticket to success. We always love to rank people to know who is the best and who is the worst. We love to give recognitions and awards for the intellectually gifted and think that “studying hard” is the best cure for poverty. Well I’m telling you, we’ve been stuck to this deep-rooted culture long enough and its about time for us to meet reality face to face;we have to accept the fact that in Nursing, its quite easier to pass the NLE than to secure a decent job.It hurts but just like what they always say, REALITY BITES.

During these hard times, personality weighs more than the board rating. For instance, I had a clinical instructor before who got a 75% flat board rating but was able to secure a fulfilling job in Canada. Not only that, most of the nurses I know who work in the hospital have ratings that ranges from 75% to 80% and they were not even one of the top performers during their school days. Zig Ziglar once underscored that “It’s not the aptitude, but the attitude, that determines one’s altitude”.The point here is the success of a nurse doesn’t rely on his/her board rating but more on how he/she persevere despite adversities in nursing employment, negative attitudes of her co-workers, and almost unbearable responsibilities expected of a nurse. Board ratings are just written numbers and it only measure one’s entry-level competencies.

Nursing is not a battle of the brains, rather, it’s all about resiliency, flexibility, and positive outlook in life. If you got a low board rating, who cares? Grades won’t make you less or more of a person.

Only here in the Philippines that we rank board ratings and put so much importance to those who top the board exam. I mean, in NCLEX, you will be labelled only as either “pass” or “fail” without any rankings or whatsoever. I’m not bitter or sourgraping here so don’t get me wrong. I just want every Filipino nurses today to realize that employment will still remain as the most important goal for everybody at the end of the day. I’m not even encouraging nursing students to stop browsing their books and just sleep all day because I know that knowledge is still one of the three pillars of good nurse training. All I want to emphasize is this: your career as a nurse (if you really want to be a nurse) won’t stop if you fail the NLE or got a rating lower than you expected. There are a lot of challenging and fulfilling things that await you in the future only if you will learn to embrace your “calling”. And though I’m not an active nurse now, I will never forget the two things (far more important than grades and intelligence) that Nursing has taught me: LOVE AND CARING.

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  1. Thanks anotherandrea! I completely agree with you about the difference between inteligence and wisdom, the latter being a necessity in life’s battles. Unfortunately, I chose not to pursue my nursing at this point in time because of some personal and financial issues. Thanks for dropping by:>

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