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Retired nurses say they are being called back to work due to shortage

[SN file photo]
But, LBJ senior official says not a new problem, and retired nurses are not being called

Samoa News received reports this week that the longstanding shortage of nurses at the LBJ Medical Center is still not resolved and as a result, some retired nurses claim they have been asked to return to duty.

A senior LBJ staffer told Samoa News that the shortage of nurses is not a new problem.

Efforts to obtain comments from LBJ Hospital CEO Faumuina Taufete’e J. Faumuina yesterday were unsuccessful. Faumuina was not at his office when Samoa News stopped by yesterday, and his secretary told Samoa News that the CEO is the only person who can reveal any information regarding the shortage of nurses.

Several retired nurses who have worked in the field for over 25 years told Samoa News that they have been in contact with some senior officials at LBJ, who have asked if they could come back to work because there is a need for more nurses, especially during this time of year.

A 68-year-old retired nurse from Faleniu told Samoa News that she was contacted by a LBJ Nursing Association official last month, asking her if she can return to work, because the hospital needs more nurses.

“This is my field and I love to offer my service for American Samoa. If this is God’s will for me, to go back to work for the hospital, I would love to offer my service,” said the retired nurse.

Another 58-year-old former nurse, who medically retired earlier this year, confirmed that she too, has been contacted by a former supervisor about returning to work.

She told Samoa News that she worked at LBJ for over 26 tears but retired because of a medical condition.

“I want to go back and work for the LBJ, but I have to be careful because of my health. Also, I don’t want to lose my Social Security benefits,” said the former nurse.

A senior official from LBJ confirmed to Samoa News that there is a need for more nurses at the hospital right now. During a brief telephone interview yesterday, the official said the problem is not a new one, it has been around for years but still, they try to do everything in their power to ensure that the service is still there for the people.

She however denied reports that they are calling retired nurses to ask them to return to work.

When Samoa News asked the LBJ senior official about what needs to be done to fix the problem, she said the only person who can provide the right answer is the LBJ CEO.

She declined to comment further when Samoa News asked more questions regarding the issue.

In an interview with Faumuina earlier this year in May, he said the LBJ Hospital doesn't have enough locals who want to become nurses and this has forced them to hire people from off island.

According to Faumuina, the local nursing staff cannot meet the growing number of ill people in the territory.

Commenting on condition of anonymity, one nurse told Samoa News that that only way to fix the growing problem is to have government leaders urge parents to enroll their children in nursing studies at the American Samoa Community College. She said the hospital can’t function without nurses.