PAHO wants more trained nurses in the C’bean

By CMC

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Members of the Northern Caribbean University (Jamaica) Nursing Graduating Class of 2012 reciting their pledge.

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is calling for more nurses in the Caribbean and the Americas to be trained to provide skilled care.

PAHO said it is also urging that steps be taken to address what it described as inequities in nurse distribution and the problem of out-migration.

“Many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean currently face shortages of nursing personnel, presenting an obstacle to achieving the goal of universal health access and coverage for all people in the Americas,” PAHO said.

PAHO”s regional advisor on nursing and health technicians, Silvia Cassiani, said nurses are “an important human resource for health”.

He said that nursing personnel make up 60 per cent of the health workforce and cover 80 per cent of health care needs.

“We have to do much more to train more professionals, to make sure they are distributed equitably according to the needs of the population, and to retain them in their workplaces,” she urged.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 23 doctors, nurses and midwives are needed for every 10,000 inhabitants to provide essential health services.

In the Americas, WHO said about 70 per cent of countries have the number of personnel they need, or even more, “but they face challenges in their distribution and training”.

It said out-migration has a “major impact on nursing human resources”, and that the number of nurses from the English-speaking Caribbean who are working abroad is estimated to be three times the number of those working in the countries where they were trained.

PAHO lamented that about 42 per cent of nursing positions in the English-speaking Caribbean are vacant due to out-migration.

“Establishing mechanisms to improve workforce retention and working conditions in public health services are among the measures that can reduce out-migration of health workers.”

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8 comments

  1. You work hard in school, having suceed the RENR, pay for a licence of $350, which you need in order to apply for a job.
    Some ppl think you can just get up and move to another country, most institutions overseas require you to have at least one year work experience.
    Money is needed to pay airfares as well as overseas exam fees, where do you begin.
    The ministers may not think that unemployment is one of the key elements of suicide, but they better think again. I have thought about it more than once but when the thought comes I turn to God and pray, there are weaker ppl out there.
    Something needs to be done soon, my patients are running out.
    God have mercy!!!!!!'nnn m

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  2. Well said Frustrated!!

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  3. Nurses should be given incentives to stay in St. Lucia or they will leave for greener pastures. Quite often they do not really need money.Some of the following incentives can help:
    1. Working conditions:Better schedules -Exchange time worked for days off, provide more flexible work times schedules,
    2. Allowances: Improved telephone, uniform and housing allowance
    3. Training- More scholarship opportunities- On the job training- retired nurses mentoring younger nurses
    4.Financial support: lending institutions to provide low interest rate loans for land, house and vehicles
    5.Government support:
    a)Provide more bond scholarships
    b) Encourage loan forgiveness program after serving a number of year
    c)Hire unemployed nurses on an hourly contract
    d)Provide opportunities like step to initiate training on the job
    e) Offer opportunity to volunteer with a nominal stipend
    6. Employee recognition: Employer reward nurses with recognition and awards (cash of kind)
    7. Provide child care support services for single and overwhelmed mothers

    We can not run a health care system without nurses and they need to be comfortable when taking care of us.

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  4. Not PAHO's fault you choose such a PM and still continue listening to him in the face of all evidence that his policies are wrong. Its your fault St. Lucia, continue to listen to misdirected politicians who are experts in nothing that they are responsible for. Imagine a lawyer in charge of finances, a social worker in charge of health, a medical doctor a speaker of the house(has not spoken a word to date), a lawyer in charge of planning, a economic planner fired. St. Lucia do you see where we are heading?

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  5. Really!! This study does not reflect in Saint Lucia, there are so many unemployed nurses in Saint Lucia.
    We have a shortage of nurses at the main health care institution but the government claim they cannot afford to hire more nurses. How can nurses give quality care when there are insufficient staff? Nurses are migrating because they are treated like crap by the administrators. The leave for the followimg reasons.
    1. Poor working conditions.
    2. Nursing administrators take forever to promote nurses. Only their friends are being promoted.
    3.Little recognition or incentives.
    4. Lack of educational opportunities/scholarships.
    5. Nurse administrators will make your life a living hell once they do not like you.

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  6. unemployed registered Nurse

    42% of the nursing post in the English speaking Caribbean countries are vacant? And nurses are left sitting at home, persons in charge are all singing the same song "no vacancy", "no opening yet", what do they want us to do? Sit still n wait for them. We All nurses should migrate.

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  7. So right now we have dozens of unemployed nurses right here I'm st.Lucia and this is what I'm reading. Well obviously something isn't right. Listening to budget and the pm spent a minute on Health. Singing the same song about opening the new hospital. PAHO you'll need to do you'll investigation. You'll should assist in the distribution of nurses through the Caribbean. What should happen is that an overseas hospital should come n collect all nurses. Health care dont mean shit in st.Lucia

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    • Well said..........when will the Ministry of health seek the intervention of PAHO to help curb the number of registered nurse who are currently unemployed in St Lucia?

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