CHCC to prioritize hiring of NMC nursing students

THE Commonwealth Healthcare Center will fill nursing vacancies with nursing graduates from Northern Marianas College, CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said.

Muna, a guest lecturer in the Current Issues class at NMC on Wednesday, also said they have opted to transition their 80 CW nurses to EB-3 instead of H1-B visas.

“If you are going to hire nurses on H-1B visas, they must have a bachelor’s degree. The reason why we opted against this is because we are basically preserving the pipeline from NMC. If we were to require that everybody have a bachelor’s degree it would mean blocking NMC students. The reality is we want to preserve that pipeline, preserve our local hires and at the same time also take care of [our employees] who have been here for a long time,” Muna told the class.

She said the hospital has a total of 117 healthcare workers who are on CW permits.

Eight of them have been converted to H-1B status, and they include a pharmacist, a physical therapist, an infection and review coordinator and an epidemiologist, Muna said.

She said for the rest of their CW nurses, they will petition them for EB-3 visas which, she added, will take a while to process.

Muna said they are also supporting the CW legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress to extend the federal CW program for 10 years starting in 2019, and increase the CW cap from 9,998 to 13,000 which will then be reduced by 500 a year.

“We are hoping that it will happen,” she said, referring to the passage of the CW bill. “2019 is just around the corner and I don’t think we can convert CWs into EB-3 visa holders quickly enough. They will have to go home. So we support the CW bill,” Muna told the students.

She said the measure will give the CHCC enough time to “convert” the visas of its nonresident nurses who have been serving the hospital and community for a long time.

As for NMC’s nursing students, Muna said she has asked the CNMI Scholarship Office to provide incentives to them.

“These may include loan repayment provisions or a bonus if they sign a contract with us,” she added.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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