Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Pohnpei hosts conference of nursing executives

Palikir, POHNPEI (FSM Information Services): June 8, 2004 - The 26th American Pacific Nurse Leaders Council Conference met successfully on Pohnpei from June 21-25, 2004, on the topic, "Nurses, Moving Forward in Challenging Times."

The Conference held its opening ceremony on June 21, with the Acting Director of Health Services for Pohnpei State Hospital, Wencener David, welcoming the participants to Pohnpei on behalf of Governor Johnny P. David. The Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Social Affairs, Dr. Jefferson B. Benjamin, on behalf of President Joseph J. Urusemal, also addressed the participants.

Dr. Benjamin noted the basis for varying the venues of the Conference and said of particular interest to the FSM today, is the "shortage of qualified nurses."

He referenced a joint study conducted by WHO and FSM's Department of Health that predicted the retirement of about half of the nursing workforce by 2009. "Will we have the nurses to step up to replace those who will retire? [...] do we or will we have students interested in nursing who have the academic preparation to enter and succeed in nursing school?" Dr. Benjamin inquired.

He urged the Conference to "keep this issue in your deliberation because it has major significance not only to the FSM but to the Pacific region as well."

Along the same, Guam Senator Lou Leon Guerrero, RN, MPH and current Chairman of the Committee on Health and Rules, in her keynote address told the conference that there must be a link that makes all the ingredients of our nursing practice and its challenges complete.

Senator Guerrero said "I believe that link is in our innate value for human life and well being [...] everyone deserves the best quality of nursing care we could humanly provide."

She continued, "it is in our belief that in order to provide the best quality of nursing care we must possess current, proven, scientific, knowledge and clinical skills. And, that we must apply those skills in whatever circumstance that is presented for the improvement of our patient's health and well-being."

Senator Guerrero urged the participants, "as you move forward to meet the challenges, always bring with you your compassion and passion for quality nursing care, your advocacy for your patient, your attitude of caring, and your love for your profession. Never forget the reason you exist [...] and that is your people, who will later become your patients."

The weeklong Conference was packed with more than 15 workshops, numerous presentations, group settings and scenarios, grant presentations, plenary presentations and other objective oriented settings with discussions on a span of nursing and health issues affecting the Pacific region.

The Conference was hosted by the Pohnpei State and coordinated though the Pohnpei State Nurses Association. More than 200 participants from Hawaii, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Guam, the Republic of Palau, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei attended the conference.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356