24 Apr 2007

American Samoa hospital boss says overseas recruitment of nurses the only option

7:16 pm on 24 April 2007

American Samoa's LBJ Hospital says it is planning to recruit nurses from the mainland and the Philippines to fill urgently needed positions in the operating room, labour and delivery wards, and emergency department.

The hospital has 35 vacancies and cannot fill them locally as there is a shortage of staff.

The planned recruitment has prompted some protest from local nurses who say this move comes at a time when the hospital has cut down overtime of local nurses.

But, the hospital's chief executive, Kirk Gray, says it would be too expensive to run the hospital on overtime.

"The number of permanent full time positions to try to cover and do overtime just because of the nurse vacancy rates, that is an expensive item to operate a hospital on overtime. So hopefully the outside recruiting will fill some of these vacant positions."

Kirk Gray says the overseas nurses will be paid between fifteen and twenty US dollars an hour.