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Second recruitment of nursing students to begin in June

Tuesday 10 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Health, National

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Second recruitment of nursing students to begin in June
Secretary of Health Bob Williams (centre) at the National Auditorium with some of the team behind the launch of the Bachelor of Nursing Pacific degree for the Cook Islands. Photo: Matthew Littlewood/22052725

Seventeen students pursuing Bachelor in Nursing Pacific are five weeks away from completing their first year of studies.

Academic Nursing Lecturer – Cook Islands for the Bachelor of Nursing Pacific (BNP), Mirella Simpson said they began the programme with 20 students.

However, three had dropped out of the programme due to personal family reasons such as moving overseas for work or needing to care for family members.

The Bachelor of Nursing Pacific Programme is delivered by Te Pukenga formally Whitireia Community Polytechnic Limited.

Th advertisement and recruitment for cohort two begins in June, 2023.

Simpson said students are supported as much as possible and offered pastoral care from the teaching team, from the University of the South Pacific’s student support services and Te Marae Ora, in order to work through the challenges that students may be facing. 

Simpson says students are on a scholarship basis which is facilitated by Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health.

University of the South Pacific Cook Islands campus director, Dr Debi Futter-Puati said the programme “came about when TMO could not recruit nurses from overseas due to Covid-19”.

“We looked to provide a programme that would train Cook Islanders in-country with a New Zealand accredited programme that would also be appropriate to the context of the Cook Islands.”

Futter-Puati said the New Zealand Nursing Council visited Rarotonga and Aitutaki last year to inspect the facilities for placements and then approved the programme to be facilitated in the Cook Islands. 

She said Te Marae Ora through the Cook Islands Government was sponsoring the training of 60 nurses. 

The courses are delivered by Simpson and her team at the USP Cook Islands campus with the degree taking three years to complete. The next group of students will enrol in 2024, and the final group in 2026 with 26 students to be recruited in each cohort.