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Guam becomes first territory to allow automatic nurse licensure from states

By Johnnie Rosario

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero praised Sen. Mary Camacho Torres for authoring legislation she hopes will attract nurses from the states to help relieve the work burden from Guam's already-strapped nursing community. The governor signed Ms. Torres's bill into law, entering Guam into the nation's Nurse Licensure Compact.

The governor, a nurse who was critical of the last legislature's refusal to pass Ms. Torres's first try at the legislation in 2019, wrote an impassioned letter to senators explaining the importance of the compact to the future of health care, and how earlier action could have helped to save lives.

You may read the letter and learn more below this story.

Senators, during the debate on the Torres legislation, agreed entrance into the compact must be followed quickly by an increase in nurse pay. Ms. Torres and Speaker Therese Terlaje both have introduced bills to increase pay for nurses, though there are key differences.

Ms. Terlaje's bill will appropriate the annual community contribution fee paid by Guam Regional Medical City as part of its qualifying certificate to increase Guam Memorial Hospital nurse pay by about four percent.

Ms. Torres's bill will appropriate General Fund monies to bring all public nurses's pay to national competitive rates.

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