The head of the newly re-opened nursing school in the Cook Islands says students will be trained to care for specific local health needs.
The principal of the School of Nursing based at Rarotonga Hospital says the school was closed for the past five years but the Ministry of Health has supported its re-launch with 12 students attending their first day of the three year programme yesterday.
Mary McManus says the 11 women and one man range in age from 18 to 40, with most of them coming from the outer islands including Mangaia, Penrhyn, Rakahanga, Pukapuka and Mitiaro.
She says they will be taught how to manage a wide range of medical conditions, how to promote public health, and how to deliver good maternity care in an isolated outer island environment.
"You usually have very limited opportunity to call on extra medical support or help and sometimes actually limited ability to refer people out. So the nurse is really working to a very, very high level and at quite a sophisticated standard. In New Zealand we'd probably be having our most advanced practice nurses actually working out in those islands, but here it might be a new graduate nurse."
Mary McManus says the school is supported by the Cook Islands Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation, the NZ Aid Programme and the Counties Manukau District Health Board.