BNA executive member hopeful

AN executive member of the Barbados Nurses’ Association (BNA) hopes while the Ghanaian nurses are working in Barbados, measures will be implemented to encourage them to remain and work in the country.

First Vice President, Heather Deane, shared this view while speaking on the radio programme Down to Brass Tacks yesterday. She was responding to a question of why she was not agitating for the preservation of employment for local nurses, but instead was glad Ghanaian nurses had been brought to assist with alleviating Barbados’ current nurse shortage.

On Thursday, 95 Ghanaian nurses arrived in Barbados. They are in the island under a two-year contract and when they commence work, they will be assigned to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), the Geriatric Hospital and polyclinics.

“We are not saying not to preserve employment here. We love the nurses to remain here, but the reality is that … even if the nurses who are on the establishment remain here, we do not have enough. So we are asking that in the time that the Ghanaian nurses remain here, that we put things in place to [encourage] the nurses to remain here.”

Deane, while on the air, gave an idea of some of the reasons local nurses opt to migrate overseas to work rather than remain. Included in what she stated were nurses “talk about the conditions of service, the need for further training, they talk about remuneration, all these things and they are not satisfied with it. Furthermore, the nurses are saying that successive governments have paid little attention to nursing”.

The retired nursing tutor also spoke about the burden placed on the nation’s public sector nurses as the health services available on island expand.

“The nursing establishment has not been increased for many, many years. I cannot remember the last year it was increased. Over the years what has happened is in the QEH, in the Psychiatric Hospital and other service areas, we have increased the service to clientele. We have included things like Quarter Way House at the Psychiatric Hospital, we have sent and trained nurses to go into the community, but these were drawn from the staff already in place and no effort was made to expand nursing staff to meet the needs of the society. They were expanding the services, but not the staff.” (MG)

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