Maui News

Wailea community continues to support Maui’s new nurses

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Pictured (L to R): Mary Farmer (instructor), Alethea McMahon, Wailani Villas-Boad, Jocelyn Romero Demirbag (UH Foundation), Crizel Mae Rasay, Karen-Ann Zaragoza, April Belle Torres, Bud Pikrone (WCA), Jaela Naha, Kimberly Pickering (instructor). PC: Wailea Community Association

For a third consecutive year, the Wailea Community Association is providing monetary support to the University of Hawaiʻi Maui Campus nursing program, in hopes of increasing healthcare resources in the Maui community.

The effort started when the pandemic began , and continues today as the WCA aims to help Maui’s new nurses care for the community.

“With only one acute care hospital on Maui, consequences can be dire if you need immediate care but live farther than 30 minutes away outside of Wailuku,” according to WCA executives.

In an effort to address the concern, WCA covered all the licensure expenses for UHMC’s nursing graduates in 2020 and in 2021. WCA covered costs of up to $450 per student, including the national test, and traveling to O‘ahu to take it, for Maui’s new RNs and LPNs, totaling $16,650. 

“The steady support from WCA has literally put food on some of our student’s tables.  They are not only going to be sustainable on Maui, they will be able to pay back the generosity shown to them by their fellow community members – WCA – in the form of compassionate and excellent care to their patients here on Maui,” said Jocelyn Romero Demirbag, University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, Director of Development for Maui Nui.

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“We are thrilled to continue partnering with UH, especially during the past couple of years,” said Bud Pikrone, General Manager of the Wailea Community Association. “The students have given thousands of COVID vaccinations and boosters through mass clinics, specialized community clinics, and at the UHMC health clinic… We have all learned how valuable this program and these students and graduates are to our Maui community.”

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In addition to ensuring that Maui’s nurses can get through the licensing process, nursing graduates said the financial support gives them more financial freedom, which has allowed them better balance work, school and their personal lives.

“The WCA’s gifts have encouraged nursing students not only to complete their licensing, but also to continue their education,” said Anne Scharnhorst, DNP, RN, chair and professor of Allied Health at UHMC. “WCA’s influence will be felt for years to come on Maui,” she said.

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