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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (December 21, 2001 – Marshall Islands Journal)---As far as academic training that has immediate job application, nursing is at the top of the list, given the ongoing shortage of nursing staff at Majuro and Ebeye hospitals.

"We have a big shortage in the nursing department," Hospital Administrator Sandy Alfred told the Journal. "We're desperate for nurses."

Because of the small number of Marshallese graduates from the CMI nursing program, Majuro Hospital is actively recruiting nurses from the Federated States of Micronesia who are graduating from CMI, he said. The main hurdle to recruiting non-Marshallese nursing staff is the hospital's lack of housing, he indicated.

Alfred said that the hospital would like to hire trained Marshallese nurses for many obvious reasons, not the least of which is that it saves money for the hospital.

Currently, however, the hospital continues to rely heavily on nurses from other countries -- although Alfred points out that even with off-island recruiting, they still don't have enough to staff the facility.

"Our nursing department struggles to meet the expectations of service in Majuro," he said.

There are 76 total nurses on the staff of Majuro Hospital -- 17 below the total that Alfred said is necessary to provide "a minimum standard of service."

Fifty-three of the 76 are graduate nurses and of those 53, 31 are Marshallese, 22 are from outside. The other 23 are practical nurses who are all Marshallese and have been trained on the job.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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