Hiring nurses from Fiji and the Philippines, instead of neighboring Samoa has raised a lot of eyebrows.
During a press conference at the ceremony to welcome nurses from Fiji, LBJ Hospital CEO, Moefaauo Bll Emmsley explained that a review of the curriculum used at the National University of Samoa’s nursing Programme is not up to par with U.S. licensing standards for nurses and this would be a challenge to acquire U.S. certification for nurses from Samoa.
According to the CEO, LBJ will need to work with NUS on the nursing Programme in order for the hospital to hire from Samoa.
“What we need is to put together a team to send to Samoa to help build a curriculum to an acceptable level that we can hire from Samoa.”
According to the CEO, they have done that same exercise with the Fijian nurses whereby the curriculum was actually sent down here to American Samoa along with transcripts and officials documents.
“And it’s come back to me that the Fijian curriculum is quite equivalent to the U.S. and we have accepted that, and we have moved on to the next phase.”
The shortages of nurses at the hospital came up during a hearing in the House of Representatives before they concluded the current legislative term last month.
According to a document submitted by Moefaauo at the hearing, the nursing shortage is ongoing and an “aging one, spanning more than eight years more disturbingly.
“There was no concrete plan to attenuate the hemorrhaging, until it got exacerbated during COVID, when LBJ had to abruptly secure 25 U.S. mainland nurses at the great expense to FEMA, LBJ in this regard could never afford this option without outside resources subsequently.
“The LBJ incoming management team developed and installed, for the first time, a comprehensive and strategic plan to address the issue not only immediately but permanently.
“The plan calls for aggressive recruitment innovative measures for retention and restructuring the nurses pay scale, re-classification at various levels on fronts, and short-term remedies and long-haul solutions, which is now being implemented.
“The immediate results are as follows — 22 highly trained, professionally qualified, vastly experienced, and specifically credentialed nurses from Fiji [arrived last month], to assist with relieving the dangerous pressure that has been brewing over the years.
“Moreover, LBJ management is planning to recruit 20 additional nurses from the Philippines pending successful renegotiations with the Philippine government, who have recently controlled the exodus of their nurses from leaving. “LBJ plans to complete this venture in six months,” the document stated.