Rescue package for nursing

In an effort to stem a worrying exodus of nurses, Government is proposing a national compact to retain them.

Details of this rescue plan were outlined by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley yesterday as she delivered the feature remarks at the Barbados Nurses Association’s 87th annual general meeting, held at Accra Beach Hotel, Christ Church.

The Prime Minister said Government would be making overtures of good faith, likening the loss of human capital to precious foreign reserves. She assured the nursing community that the earlier promise of establishing the post of special nurses, which was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, would now be back on track as a matter of urgency.

She revealed that Government had committed to adding four specialist nurses which will be equivalent to assistant director of nursing at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

Additionally, there would be the establishment of a deputy director of nursing at the QEH.

Mottley explained that the gap between director of nursing and the assistant director was too wide.

In addition to the numbers to be placed in the QEH, six specialist nursing positions would be established in the wider public health sector. She explained that these positions would ensure that nurses were not forced to seek administrative positions in order to be better paid.

Sending message

“Let us cut to the point, we have to settle on a national compact for the retention of nurses. We are sending the message that our desire to act in good faith is absolutely there. I am not asking you to come to the table to discuss everything for the first time without us acting where we need to act . . . .

The Government is committed to doing the things that reposition healthcare in this country,” she declared.

Other plans include an education thrust for nursing, with the Prime Minister noting that this must also include a reshaping of the younger generation’s perception of the profession.

She said plans were in the pipeline to upgrade the quality of training at the Barbados Community College, which would include

an increased number of nursing tutors for the programme.

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