CHCC welcomes community volunteers

COMMONWEALTH Healthcare Corporation director of nursing Renea Raho is asking community members to volunteer and help the hospital reduce the workload of its nurses.

“We welcome volunteers — they will be a big help,” Raho said in an interview on Tuesday. She said volunteers will help perform clerical work like answering telephone calls or following up on patient appointments.

Raho said high school seniors are especially welcome to volunteer. “It will be good exposure for them if they have an interest in the medical field or if they want to pursue medical studies in college.”

She noted that there is a nursing shortage, not just in the CNMI, but across the U.S.

“According to the American Nurses Association, one of the reasons there is a nursing shortage is because there is low enrollment in nursing courses and a lack of nursing faculty,” she said.

To address the shortage at the CNMI’s only hospital, Raho said their nurses are undergoing cross-training so they can work in other units.

“Recently, we cross-trained two nurses from the Family Care Clinic. If there is a need, for example, in the medical-surgical unit, we can easily transfer them to an area where staff is needed,” she added.

CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said some of their nurses are leaving — either because of the CW cap or they are being recruited by hospitals that pay more.

She said CHCC is competing with other U.S. jurisdictions that pay nurses much higher salaries.

She added that local nursing graduates who have experience and have earned credentials are being recruited by hospitals on Guam or the U.S. mainland.

“We have recruiters that are coming in so we don’t have a chance to hire even our graduating nurses if we don’t do anything about salaries,” she said.

On Guam, nurses get $50,000 to $70,000 a year. CHCC, in contrast, pays its nurses $23,000 to $33,000 a year.

So it can offer more services, pay its nurses higher salaries and seek other applicable U.S. visas for its CW nurses and other critical healthcare workers, CHCC has requested $90 million from the CNMI government.

Under the administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, however, CHCC stands to receive just a $2 million subsidy.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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