As St. Lucian nurses prepare to undergo interviews with a team from Trinidad and Tobago who are here to recruit them for employment, Vice President (VP) of the Saint Lucia Nurses Association (SLNA) Ray Leo has said government should “try harder to employ local nurses”.
Leo told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) in an interview that while the SLNA supports the employment of nurses it is also sad that the country cannot absorb its own human resources. Many of the nurses who have applied are graduates from Cuba and local medical institutions.
The SLNA VP described the situation as a dilemma, but noted that the association is not opposed to nurses gaining employment.
“We believe that everybody has obligations and responsibilities. However we think the government should try a little harder to employ more nursing staff, given the situation the island is faced with,” Leo said.
He added: “Saint Lucia is facing a critical shortage of nurses and indeed we can use many more nurses on staff. However, we also understand the government’s position that they are currently not able to employ more staff than they have now, and they think as a government they have the responsibility to look for employment opportunities elsewhere for these nurses.”
However, despite the current economic situation, Leo said there is a serious concern when it comes to the nurse-to-patient ratio that must be tackled sometime in the future.
“In some institutions one nurse is assigned eight to 10 or even more patients. This is not good, considering that the international standard is one nurse to four patients.”
The Government of Saint Lucia, through the Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations, and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, have embarked on an initiative to employ registered nurses from Saint Lucia to work in the twin island republic.
The initiative will see locally qualified nurses presented with the opportunity of working for a minimum of two years with the government of Trinidad and Tobago. The interview process begins today, August 21, and will continue on Friday, August 22.
This opportunity is opened to new recruits or recent graduates of nursing, some with no or limited experience in the field. It is not opened to nurses who are currently employed.