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Nurses uneasy about layoffs

There is a sense of unease among nurses, as Government continues with its retrenchment programme.

The president of the Barbados Nurses Association, Blondelle Mullin, noted this concern last night while delivering her 2013 report at the Association’s annual general meeting at the Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados, Aquatic Gap, St Michael.

Mullin said: “Government’s retrenchment efforts have a few nurses uneasy since we are not sure how long nurses will remain untouched. We are constantly reminded that ‘a promise is a comfort to a fool’. Nurses need relief in numbers added, not decreased for any reason.”

The president went on to identify some of the challenges confronting the association. Among these, the need to address conditions of service in most institutions; security issues at some institutions; sick building syndrome at the St John Outpatients’ Clinic; senior nurses at polyclinics acting in some posts for years and some nursing assistants at some of the other institutions frustrated over the long wait for appointments; nurses still having problems some months in accessing payment of salaries in a timely manner at some institutions, while accessing uniforms continues to be a source of stress for nurses.

Mullin further charged that nurses continued to complain about the lack of opportunities for training.

“Issues still exist with nurses not being sent from institutions to further their studies which is due to the complement of nurses in the institutions. Some nurses have opted to resign to pursue their studies,” Mullin said.

However, addressing more positive aspects of the nursing profession, Mullin told her audience, which included several retired nurses and the veteran entertainment promoter Richard Stoute, that her association has continued its partnership with Walden University, United States, in collaboration with the Caribbean Nurses Association to solicit scholarships for nurses to pursue Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctorate programmes.

Mullin announced that the partnership had been finalised and BNAs nurses had taken the opportunity to have 20 per cent discounts on online programmes as well as a scholarship.

“Nurses have enrolled in online programmes and now study in the comfort of their homes while still working.

“The BNA has also continued to assist nurses in attending conferences and providing book allowances for local courses,” she said.

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