The Wailea community continues to support Maui’s new nurses

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Pictured (left to right): 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 the third consecutive year, the Wailea Community Association is providing financial support to the nursing program on the Maui campus of the University of Hawai’i in hopes of increasing health care resources in the Maui community.

The effort began when the pandemic began and continues to this day as the WCA aims to help Maui’s new nurses take care of the community.

“With only one acute care hospital on Maui, when you need immediate care but live more than 30 minutes outside of Wailuku, the consequences can be devastating,” WCA officials said.

In an effort to address concerns, in 2020 and 2021 the WCA assumed all licensing costs for UHMC Maui’s nursing graduate new RNs and LPNs totaling $16,650.

“WCA’s continued support has literally put food on the table for some of our students. Not only will they be sustainable on Maui, they will be able to repay the generosity shown to them by those around them – the WCA – in the form of compassionate and excellent care for their patients here on Maui,” said Jocelyn Romero Demirbag, University of Hawaii Foundation, Development Director for Maui Nui.

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“We are very pleased to continue our partnership with UH, especially over the past few years,” said Bud Pikrone, general manager of the Wailea Community Association. “Students have given thousands of COVID vaccinations and boosters at mass clinics, specialty 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 Maui’s nurses can progress through the licensing process, the nursing graduates said the financial aid gives them greater financial freedom, which has allowed them to better balance work, school and personal life.

“The gifts of the WCA have encouraged nursing students not only to complete their admissions but to continue their education,” said Anne Scharnhorst, DNP, RN, Chair and Professor of Allied Health at UHMC. “The impact of the WCA will be felt on Maui for many years to come,” she said.

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