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First cohort of nursing graduates to strengthen health system

Friday 6 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Health, Health, National

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First cohort  of nursing  graduates to  strengthen  health system
Secretary of Health Bob Williams. RYAN ANDERSON/STUFF/21081919

From July to December last year, Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health (TMO) had 33 staff including nurses concluding their employment for various reasons.

Secretary ofHealth Bob Williams said reasons included studies and training opportunities, end of contract and returning overseas, migration due to family priorities and better remuneration packages offered either from in-country and/or overseas employers.

With 119 nurses currently employed under TMO, the ministry is looking forward to its first cohort of 20 graduates next year.

Through the Bachelor of Nursing Pacific Programme delivered by Whitireia Community Polytechnic Limited, the second intake of 20 students will be enrolled in 2024 followed by the third intake of another 20 students in 2026.

A total of 60 students will undergo the nursing programme through the collaboration of the University of the South Pacific (USP), Te Marae Ora and Whitireia Polytechnic.

Williams said the official programme was launched on May 27 last year and classes had commenced on May 30.

The students are on scholarships and will be bonded to the Cook Islands Government.

Williams said to get into the programme, those interested have had to successfully complete high school studies overseas or recently completed tertiary study at Level 4 with a B average and/or relevant work experience.

Meanwhile, Williams added that the ministry would be looking to get more nurses from Pacific Island neighbours to cover the vacant and skilled positions.