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Kaiser Permanente starts nursing education program for its employees

Ryan Kawailani Ozawa

The health care industry is grappling with challenges that threw a glaring spotlight on the weaknesses in Hawaiʻi's hospitals and care facilities — staff shortages are one.

Kaiser Permanente is working to solve the nursing shortage by starting a licensed practical nurse residency program.

Dionicia Lapaga, a senior director and longtime Kaiser nurse, said the 18-month program will provide a direct pathway for current employees wanting to transition to a nursing career.

"The didactic portion is done virtually, so it's made easy for them. And then the clinical settings are in environments that may be in what they currently work in, but in a different role as a student, or in other areas. So they will get the wide variety of experiences from OB-GYN, primary care, urgent care and specialty. So we're really excited about this because this is really investing in our current workforce," she said.

This first Kaiser employee cohort has 10 students, including one person from Maui.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Feb. 2, 2023. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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