Job opportunities for Lankan nurses in US
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was told by Los Angeles county officials
on Friday that there is a large number of vacancies for nurses in
California which Sri Lanka could exploit.
The Acting Chairperson of the Los Angeles County Board of
Representatives Yvonne Burke told President Rajapaksa that there is a
dearth of nurses in the California area. Qualified nurses were urgently
required, she said.
It was revealed that almost 90 per cent of the nurses in the area
were from the Philippines and India. Sri Lanka has a great potential in
this sector if nurses who could meet stringent American standards were
available, it was pointed out.
It was suggested that Sri Lankan nurses be trained to meet American
standards and qualifications by an initial team of doctors and nurses
from the USA. Suitably qualified nurses could then find employment in
California and other US States.
The President called upon the Board to explore avenues to undertake
such training of Lankan nurses graduating from nursing schools in Sri
Lanka to suit California's Healthcare requirements.
Dr. Lakshman Makandura, a Sri Lankan doctor residing in Los Angeles
told the Sunday Observer that only a handful of Lankan nurses were
working in California. A minimum salary of a nurse is US$ 4,000 a month
and a top nurse with several years of experience can earn as much as US$
12,000, he said.
He said the Government should seriously consider the proposal by the
County Board for a proper training program for Lankan nurses so that
they could find employment here. At this meeting, President Rajapaksa
and Chairperson Burke also discussed the economic and social
contribution made to the California area by the large number of Sri
Lankans domiciled here.
Soon afterwards, the President met Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the
City Hall in downtown Los Angeles.
Mayor Villaraigosa extended a warm welcome to the President, saying
it was an honour to receive a Sri Lankan Head of State in California for
the first time. Los Angeles, being a multi-cultural city, values the
contribution made by Sri Lankans, he said.
President Rajapaksa briefed the Mayor on current development
initiatives in Sri Lanka and called upon the Mayor to set up links with
an identified 'sister city' in Sri Lanka. The President later attended a
luncheon meeting organised by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.