Nurses sad over 40 colleagues' retirement

The Nurses Association of Samoa has lamented the retiring of 40 nurses amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

The Nurses Association President, Solialofi Papalii, expressed concern in an interview with the Samoa Observer that the nurses exited in line with the Ministry of Health (MOH) policy at the height of the global pandemic.

“We always need more nurses in our hospitals and now with the trending global pandemic, we feel that it is not the right time to let go of any nurses,” she said.

“The retired nurses called for an extension of service but sadly, they had to obey the rules as per head of the Ministry.”

Out of the 40 nurses who retired, 20 of them were midwives to now leave only 410 registered nurses nationwide, who are currently working in hospitals around the country.

Mrs Papalii indicated that the total number of registered nurses they have on the roster cannot meet the demand to combat COVID-19, if the global pandemic ever hits the shores of Samoa. “A lot of nurses are used to working day by day barely without any rest and it’s hard for them to adapt to doing nothing when they stay at home,” she added.

It is understood some of the nurses who retired recently acted as monitors for trainee-nurses who are currently studying in the National University of Samoa’s nursing studies programme.

One of the retired nurses, 78-year-old Tofaga Lene Fiu, has clocked 58 years working as a nurse and is keen to get back to active duty if required. 

“A lot of nurses are used to working day by day, barely without any rest and it’s hard for them to adapt to doing nothing, when they stay at home,” she said.

While grateful for her years of service, Mrs Fiu said she will respond to a call-up to combat the global pandemic if asked by the authorities.

As part of the M.O.H. policy, nurses who reach 65 years of age and above are required to file for an extension of their services two months prior to their retirement, according to Mrs Papalii.

Mrs Papalii also finds herself facing similar challenges, as she is now 76-years-old and is supposed to retire, but is unable to due to her role in the Association. 

She has vowed to offer her remaining strength and years to serve the people of Samoa.

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