Need for nurses

Blondelle Mullin

The shortage of nurses in Barbados is still high on the agenda for the chief nursing body in 2013.

In another two weeks the Barbados Nurses Association will gather for it’s annual general meeting, and as President Blondelle Mullin mounts her re-election campaign, she says that while they are grateful for new appointments in 2012, the numbers exiting the service are not keeping pace with the numbers coming in.

“I dealt with the nursing shortage issue by lobbying the Minister of Health, who has promise to appropriately address this matter. Even though a small number of nurses were recruited this still has not made a vast difference as more nurses have retired or moved on to greener pastures,” said Mullin.

She noted too that while issues of security for nurses and investment opportunities for the organisation were addressed in 2012, the economic climate did not make it easy for the BNA to accomplish all it had set out to do.

“While some corporate companies have sponsored BNA activities, investment opportunities to enhance the financial sustainability and strengthen the ability to advance the Association’s agenda have been restricted by the present financial climate effecting corporate Barbados. However, efforts in this regard will continue as the situation improves.”

Stressing that there has been “prudent fiscal management” of the organisation’s finances during the past year, the president added: “I also lobbied the ministers of Health and Finance to increase BNA’s annual subvention. As a result the Minister of Health publicly promised to increase the subvention from the next financial year.”

During the year some 30 new nurses joined the association, which was also able to establish partnerships with other organisations such as the Royal College of Nursing and the International Council of Nurses, Mullin said, and renovations were also made to the BNA’s headquarters.

Citing some of the successes of the BNA over the past year, including the partnership with Walden University and the Caribbean Nurses Organisation that now allows nurses here to be eligible for scholarships or 20 per cent discounts on areas of study, Mullin said going into this new year, addressing the issue of small numbers was chief on the agenda.

“I will continue to lobby Government to increase the number of nurses to improve the delivery of health care in all institutions.”

What she was most disappointed with though, she said, was the still lack of a secretariat for the Nursing Council in Barbados.

“I am very distress that after two years we have not made any strives with the Nursing Council situation. The end of January will be the re-registration process for nurses but Nursing Council of Barbados (due to the issues of relocation constantly) has not been able to obtain a secretariat to assist with this process to enable members to obtain credits for continuing education. We are grateful though for the spacious facilities in Warrens. I will vigorously continue to lobby the Ministry of Health to address this matter.”

The new year will also see a lobby for the establishment of a mentorship programme for junior nurses and nursing students, as well as for the remuneration of nurses working “unsociable hours”, and a programme to address the promotion and “upward mobility” of nurses, said the president. (LB)

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