Over 100 graduate nurses working behind-the-scenes

Over 100 Samoan graduate nurses are part of the health workforce working behind-the-scenes to save lives and slow the spread of measles. 

Samoa Nursing Association President and head nurse, Solialofi Papali'i, told the Samoa Observer that the 120 graduate nurses were waiting to graduate when they had to be drafted into service when the measles outbreak struck.

The graduate nurses’ graduation has been postponed indefinitely with Solialofi saying that working in the frontlines of the epidemic has made them better for the experience and built their confidence.

“I always visit them to encourage them and from my observation, their experiences have gone well and I’m proud,” she said.

“It is because before, they were scared to practice but right now they’ve gotten used to it and have gained confidence in their work which is what they need for their work to flow smoothly. This is a very vital chance for them to practically learn and I see how happy they are with what they’re learning.”

Out of the 120 graduate nurses, 90 of them did a bachelor degree in nursing with the other 30 studying for a diploma. Currently, the graduate nurses are assisting registered nurses, who are administering vaccinations on vulnerable groups. 

Solialofi said the work of the graduate nurses are supervised by registered nurses and their confidence is being boosted by their experiences. 

“Their practices are going smoothly from my observation and they have their own mentors that are guiding them every time, I’ve seen how tired they are almost all the time and of course all the employees of (Ministry of) Health,” she said.

“But they’re also being monitored by their registered nurses therefore they are safe because they’re under supervision.”

In addition to assisting registered nurses with vaccinations, graduate nurses are also taking care of patients by delivering treatment, ensuring patients get their treatment, and checking patients’ meals to ensure they have a good balance of fruits. 

Solialofi also revealed that diploma and degree graduate nurses have different responsibilities and appeal to the public for their prayers to help the nurses overcome their fears while working on the frontlines. 

“It is not an easy job to do as it requires you to become confident and overcome fears especially with vaccinations, and we need all the prayers we can get to get through this.”

While the graduate nurses are taught nursing standards while in school, Solialofi said a nurse’s work ethic always revolves around three pillars: practice, knowledge and spirit. 

“We teach what we call being ministers which requires the nurses to pray for their patients and what I’m asking Samoa to do for our nurses. We nurses believe in the power of prayers so we need you Samoa to pray with us as we fight this epidemic.”

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