Thai nurses settling into life in American Samoa
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A team of four Registered Nurses from the Thai USA Company are here to check out how the Registered Nurses contracted from Thailand are doing in a US territory.
Thai Nurse USA is run by Registered Nurses originally from Thailand but work and live in the USA.
They include Prawnapa Niemeyer, RN, who is working at the Memorial Medical Center in Maui, Hawaii, and is the Founder of 'Thai USA’; Eakkawit Wetcha , RN, who is currently working in HCA Florida Fort Walton Beach, Florida; and, Mr Nopparat Solumpa, RN, who is working at the Doctors Hospital of Augusta in Georgia.
RN Wetcha says they run a nurse business and they also have their own jobs, in different states in the U.S.
One of them took 30 hours to fly here purposely to check out on the nurses they’ve sent to the LBJ medical hospital.
Sending Nurses to LBJ in American, Samoa is something new for Thai USA, they said.
“We have ten here, one coming at the end of October and six more in the process.
“There would be 18 nurses to come if we need more, we can provide more,” said RN Niemeyer.
“Thai USA’s purpose is to take nurses from Thailand for employment in the States, in America,'' but now LBJ hospital, in a US Territory, has reached out to them for help.
Nurses from Thailand have to go through months in processing their paperwork including flying to another country to sit the test — all nurses have to sit a Certification License test in New York.
That’s after becoming an LPN in Thailand or even receiving a degree in nursing.
“All these are paid for by the LPN themselves.”
The company’s role is to help some of them submit their application for the National Nursing exam in the States.
“We came here to make sure they are happy to be here.
“If they need housing or transportation, and we are happy to see that LBJ is helping out with accommodations near the hospital, and are looking for a transport.”
They are all on contracts and are no longer under Thai USA, as they are now under LBJ hospital.
The six Thai nurses who are already working here joined in the special meeting between LBJ hospital management and Thai USA yesterday morning at a hospital conference room.
When Samoa News asked about their experience they were giggling and smiling.
“We are happy with our environment; accommodation and we are able to get around to the local markets for a selection of vegetables.
“We can still find ingredients for our Thai food, from the local markets.
“We all cook and share amongst ourselves, but our meals aren’t as hot as we usually have at home.”
Team leader, Niemeyer couldn’t hold off her tears, when she was sitting face to face with the young nurses from her country,
“I’m proud of you, and I’m happy to see the success of how we are able to help the people of American Samoa.
“Our job is to help.” Ms Niemeyer confessed that it wasn’t easy to reach this stage. They had to go through several meetings online and to build that trust in between.
“We needed to know what LBJ wanted, that includes being able to communicate, at least speak English and understand.
“Thai nurses have no problem in reading and listening in English but practical speaking (could be a problem).
“We don’t practice speaking English in Thailand, but there is social media, you can learn from.
“They’re aware that they’d be working in the States, where they need to notify a doctor in English, what if the patient is in critical condition, right order for patient and patient’s safety — all those they need to communicate in English.”
Their other problem would be the pronunciation of medication, “but I’m sure they are working hard to improve their communication skills,” she said.
When asked about accommodations, Dr. Akapusi Ledua, CEO for LBJ hospital says, they are keeping them at Sadie’s for now. They have identified a permanent house; one will be completed in a few weeks.
The Thai USA team is happy and satisfied, with the result of the partnership with LBJ, believing this team will build the trust and would be a way forward for more nurses to help out with the shortage at LBJ and following procedures.
LBJ CEO Dr. Ledua said the contracts are for three years, and in the meantime LBJ needs to build and keep its own nurses. He said that’s in the pipeline.