“Twelve students took the course and now we have eight who will be graduating.
“We will not phase out foreign nurses,” Glassie said, “as these graduates will replace retired nurses.”
He said the ministry believes that the more nurses they train the better it is for the nation.
“This is a fill-in requirement. We have a number of nurses retiring and some have worked beyond the age of 60. We have retired about a half a dozen nurses already.”
“At the end of this year some young nurses will graduate. Nurses that may replace doctors’ positions in the outer islands because their level of training is highly recognised. But the ministry continues to welcome foreign nurses,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Health Director of Funding and Planning Ana Mataitini earlier stated the shortage of nursing skills in the Cook Islands will no longer be an issue after the graduation. “Over the past years, the ministry has worked towards addressing the nursing shortage skills and through the re-establishment of the nursing school and funding from government we have been able to work on this,” Mataitini said.
She said these nurses are expected to be employed within the identified skill shortage areas as this is a priority.
Acknowledging the contribution of contract workers, Mataitini said there are not more than 20 overseas contracted nurses in the ministry.
They are from New Zealand, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Philippines, Tonga and Tuvalu.