American Samoa's LBJ Hospital does not have enough locals who want to become nurses and has been forced to hire off island.
The chief executive Taufetee John Faumuina said the number of local nurses cannot meet the growing numbers of ill people in the territory.
He has urged parents to enrol their children in nursing studies at the American Samoa Community College.
Mr Taufetee was delivering a keynote speech to open Nurses Appreciation week.
He said the hospital won't function without nurses and thanked all those in the nursing profession for their service.
Mr Taufetee said the deteriorating health of the local population has made him lean on his counterpart, the Director of Health to step up preventive health care.