Carmencita Matias Abaquin, GN, BSN, MSN, PhD
For her courage and compassion in restoring the dignity and integrity of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) - Board of Nursing.
Carmencita Matias Abaquin is wife to Gil Ramos Abaquin, mother to Geraldine, Giovanni and Gregory, a professional nurse, a transformational leader and a Secular Carmelite.
Enshrined in the life and works of Dr. Carmencita M. Abaquin is the philosophy of MANUS, CAPUT, COR and SERVICE TO GOD, COUNTRY and PEOPLE.
She started her nursing career from the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital School of Nursing, as a graduate of Class1962. She continued to grow with her education and completed her BSN in 1969, followed by MSN in 1975 and PhD in 2000, also at UP.
She worked in progressive capacities from staff nurse to head nurse at PGH before coming to the United States as an exchange student to work at Harper Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital and Cook County Hospital. Returning back to the Philippines, she emerged herself in nursing education serving for thirty-five years as a College Professor at the UP-Manila College of Nursing, assuming positions as an Undergraduate and Graduate Program Faculty and various administrative positions like College Secretary, Head Teaching Program, Head Continuing Education and Community Service Program, to name a few.
From November 2006 to January 2016, she served as the Chairperson of the Professional Regulatory Board of Nursing, PRC. She came at the height of the troubling “cheating issue” in the national board examination. She accepted the leadership with a huge challenge to return the dignity, integrity and compassion for the PRC Board of Nursing. She was able to turn around the negative attitude of the stakeholders on the board exams and the Board of Nursing. She led the Board of Nursing to develop many significant projects like the National Nursing Care Competencies (NNCC), using the Competency-based Framework (2009-2012), aligned with its implementation with the Philippine Framework Level. This produced three (3) references/ modules that are used in the Philippine nursing schools.
The NNCC also served as bases for the development of Program-based Outcomes in the new BSN Curriculum and Outcome-based National Licensure Examination; as well as the development of Job Description and Evaluation Tool for Nursing Service. These leveled up the quality of nursing education, as well as the quality of nursing service in the Philippines.
Dr. Abaquin engaged in the international work to establish linkages with countries like Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan, EU and ASEAN countries to support the globalization of nursing curriculum, competencies and evaluation. She openly shares her research findings through lectures, publications and collaboration with other countries. She has a special interest on care of patients with cancer, geriatric care curriculum and development.
Retirement has not slowed her down. She continues her involvement in professional, socio-civic and religious activities. She still has much energy to share to the Commission of Higher Education-Technical Committee on Nursing Education, the ASEAN Joint Committee for Nursing Education and still manage to be the President of Secular Carmelite Order St. Teresa of Jesus. She also has leadership role with the UP College of Nursing Foundation and the UP-PGH School of Nursing Alumni Association, and officially merged the UP-PGH School of Nursing and the UP College of Nursing in 1979.
One of her most current project as the Chairperson is the “UP-PGHSNAA - Legacy Book Project”. The goal is to create a Directory of the graduates and tell the challenges and success stories that honor their Alma Mater.
I had the honor of sharing the podium with Dr. Carmencita Abaquin during the International Nursing Conference sponsored by the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) and Association of Deans of Philippine Colleges of Nursing (ADPCN) held in 2009 at Cebu City. At that time, I was a member of the Virginia Board of Nursing. I shared the policy and regulatory role I performed and experienced to maintain the quality of the nursing profession in the State of Virginia, USA. I empathized with her challenging experience she was going through in her role as the Chairperson of the Professional Regulatory Board of the Nursing, PRC.
We will not forget the remarkable achievement of Dr. Carmencita M. Abaquin as Chair of the Professional Board of Nursing. In the words of her classmate, Delia T. Delarama, Dr. Carmencita M. Abaquin demonstrated the “strength, courage, loyalty, commitment and dedication.”
On behalf of the J.V. Sotejo Medallion of Honor Award Subcommittee, we salute our 2018 awardee, Dr. Carmencita M. Abaquin.
By Peregrin “Perry” Camilon Francisco, GN ’69, BSN’71, MSA, RN Editor