STUDENT nurses who graduated from the Sangam Institute of Technology School of Nursing were yesterday challenged to rise to the occasion of serving the people of the nation.
Speaking at the graduation in Labasa, permanent secretary in the Prime Minister's Office Lieutenant Colonel Pio Tikoduadua reaffirmed government's recognition and appreciation of the Sangam's unswerving efforts through the establishment of the nursing institution.
Lt-Col Tikoduadua said government's recognition of the institution was part of the 'Look North Policy' initiative now known as the Vanua Levu Development Plan.
"Graduates of the nursing school for the past three years have all been employed by government in public hospitals and health centres around the country and I have no doubt that the 53 graduates today will also have the same opportunity available to them," he said.
"This year 40 students were granted Fijian Affairs Board scholarships while 25 students will continue in 2013. Fifty eight students were given 20 per cent funding each of the multi-ethnic scholarship. However I am pleased to say that in 2013, 50 students are receiving 100 per cent scholarship funding of the same," he said.
Lt-Col Tikoduadua said 20 students were being granted Public Service Commission scholarships in 2013.
"By the same token, government recognises and acknowledges your extensive involvement in mobilising community projects and your endeavours to meet the different needs of the underprivileged and poor in society," he said. "These educational systems do not cater for Sangam members only but have included students of all races, religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds."
Lt-Col Tikoduadua reminded them that their profession was front-line service to the people, saying "like teachers, you are not permanently stationed in any area, whether in urban or rural areas".