The exodus of nurses at the Commonwealth Health Center continues, with eight more resigning in just the past seven days.
Their resignations would take effect after three months or by October.
Sources told Saipan Tribune that these nurses quit mainly due to the uncertainty of their retirement contributions.
The eight are from key units at CHC. One is with the Medical Surgical Unit, while two are from the Intensive Care Unit. Another two are from the Emergency Room section and three are stationed at the Hemodialysis Section.
One of the eight told Saipan Tribune that, although she has no concrete plans yet whether to join the private sector or go back to the Philippines, the decision to resign was the only option left so she could get a refund on the contributions she put into the retirement program, which is now in an emergency state and dealing with a bankruptcy petition.
The nurse, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, has been serving the public hospital for nine years. She expressed frustration with the ongoing struggles of the facility.
Another nurse, who has also been with CHC for several years, said she turned in her resignation last week.
She said she has been in a wait-and-see mode for quite some time now until she made the final decision to quit and explore her chances in another country. She refused to disclose her specific employment plans at this time.
Majority of the nurses serving at CHC are nonresidents recruited from the Philippines.
On Monday last week, CHC nursing director Leticia Reyes told Saipan Tribune that a total of 28 nurses have resigned since January to June this year. This brings the nursing workforce left at CHC to only 139-a significant decrease from 167 full-time employees since the start of the fiscal year in October 2011. Reyes is on personal leave since July 4.
Factoring in the latest resignations, nursing employees at the hospital will further go down to just 131 by the end of October.
During last week's interview with Reyes, she disclosed that recruitment is ongoing for nurses and they are targeting to fill all vacant positions at the soonest possible time.
Reyes disclosed that they have already interviewed several applicants. However, because there is a very small percentage of U.S. citizens nurses on island, the entry of nonresident replacements is being hampered by the new federal immigration procedures.