UPDATE: “We have loans to pay” – VH temporary nurses sent home; director explains hiring process

UPDATE: “We have loans to pay” – VH temporary nurses sent home; director explains hiring process

Dozens of sessional/temporary nurses at Victoria Hospital are now pondering where their next bread will come from after they were informed that they would be sent home soon.

The nurses argue that while their contracts have not been renewed and/or they were not made permanent employees, they’re disappointed that retired nurses are still being hired.

Speaking to Saint Lucia News Online (SNO), one of the sessional workers, who chose to remain anonymous, said they were informed verbally of their dismissal during a general meeting last week, and with “no prior notice.”

The sessional staffers were reportedly told that last week was their final week of employment at the hospital.

When asked whether a contractual arrangement for employment was entered into with the government, which is the body in charge of hiring staff at the hospital, the nurse said that she had signed a contract but was not given a copy. As to whether that contract had stipulated the period for which she would be employed, she said no.

“We have loans to pay and it’s a whole bunch of us [who were sent home]” the nurse said.

St. Lucia News Online spoke with the Hospital’s Executive Director, Jeanette Hughes, who did not wish to “confirm or deny” the reports, stating that she would need to get the names and info of the nurses who were dismissed in order to confirm that they were being let go. She however went on to further explain the employment process of sessional or temporary nurses.

She said that while the hospital may make recommendations for the hiring and firing of workers, only the government has the final say as to who goes or stays.

As the word implies, Hughes said that temporary or sessional nurses are indeed employed on a short-term basis and with no guarantee that they will be made permanent at the end of their tenure; although she said that many of them are re-hired at the hospital based on need.

She said the Victoria Hospital is appreciative of sessional workers and always look to employ them, rather than take in green nurses.

“We encourage temporary workers, we encourage volunteers,” she said, while stating that their performance is normally monitored from which appraisals are written and at times used for future recommendation to the government for re-employment.

“When there is an opening and we know you have been working very hard, we can submit the paper work on your behalf and we support the recommendation and send it to our PS [permanent secretary],” she said.

Describing the work of sessional nurses as “beneficial,” Hughes said it is sometimes impossible to make every worker permanent after their temporary tenure.

She reiterated that workers could be called back to work as the need arises.

“It’s not a situation where we just throw anybody out. Maybe the person tenure came to an end,” she said in response to questions of the dismissals.

“In these hard times people would have hoped [to be made permanent]… Sometimes we can help and sometimes we cannot help. We don’t have a huge turnover of permanent workers and we are not expanding our structure yet,” she said to SNO.

She was adamant that everyone employed at the hospital would know the conditions under which they were employed. According to her, temporary workers should be informed of when their contract starts and ends.

“Every worker knows their tenure….I don’t understand why they would be surprised,” she said. She said that in the event there is a vacancy, there is a process that needs to be followed for their employment.

However, despite the explanation given by the director, a medical official believes the nurses are being dismissed in the wrong way.

“They need to tell the truth,” the source said. “The nurses were aware that it was sessional appointments and can come to an end sometime, but it is the way it is done and the beating around the bush with the livelihoods of nurses.

“Some of these young nurses were ready to go for the opportunity in Trinidad, but were discouraged by the president of the Nurses Association, saying we did not have enough nurses, yet they are being sent away. The quality of care is bound to be compromise. And who suffers? It is the persons in the lower income bracket whereby our leaders can take a plane out of St. Lucia. If things are so bad why did they invent a post for a retired nurse … that money could have given two young nurses permanent employment.”

SNO is still seeking to get a response from the health ministry on the matter.

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56 COMMENTS

  1. The standard of nursing has decreased immensely. I was alarmed seeing the attitude of the nurses who work at triage at stjude hospital. Their focus is to leave work at or before 4pm even if patients are waiting to be checked in. They do not consider how sick you are. All they care about is getting out of there. I studied these staff and found out they only work one shift. If so why the rush and insensitivity. All my years coming to hospital I never knew nursing to be that way. I believe people like these need to be sent home and employ those who are ready to work.

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  2. Well, my sister studied to get her nursing degree in Trinidad, worked there for over a year getting quite a modest salary, married a fellow alumni and is living with him in his home country, working and being a happily married woman. Praise God.
    She made sure she got her papers in order... namely her CSME certificate.
    Trinidad crime bad yes... but that is our world today and its not every minute someone gets shot in trinidad.It is bad yes, in comparison to 'sweet' St.lici but at the same time over rated in our minds. Just be smart in your living in trinidad and serve God for insurance that loves, you can't go wrong there. Hey the world is your opportunity, when things bad, move along, migrate, don't stay and starve... or innovate, create a your job,provide a service, work on a luxurious yacht as a nurse...i don't know. Aye... pick up and survive, whatever you do you must keep moving. Cause to throw up your hands in the air hopelessly, means you not ready for the future, the worst is yet to come.Trust God, make a move and change your circumstances.
    Blessings

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  3. BA and Not Trusting seem to be the most sensible people on here. For the Cuban nurses whose thesis I do believe was done in Spanish the word Temporary in Espanyol is temporal!! I can't understand how a bank would dish out money to Temporary workers I hop that eh BOSL but leave that alone that's for a next show. Leonce has her old crony nurses interest at heart they have passed retirement and yet still getting enough money I know as there is one living next door to me a right pig she is I shudder to think of her bedside manner I hope I never have to end up at VH while she is employed! @RP you sound like a person who went yo the USA and haven't achieved anything I only hope you don't have little children as your grasp and spelling of the English language is worse than a 4 year old! Do you know a Cuban trained doctor can only get. Job as a nurse in the great USA think of it a Cuban trained nurse might very well end up as a janitor!! Some idiot says crime is rampant in TnT yeh right st Lucia is calm no crime whatsoever! To be honest I had no uses for Kamla Persad Bissessar after her insult saying TnT wasn't an ATM for the other islands she has made amends fifth her faux pas by sending aid to our dec 24th trough victims and now creating employment for our nurses, respect is due girl if I were in all you shoes don't wait for LIAT or BWee run swim get there ASAP before some it her hungry island people take the jobs!

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  4. Firstly, the nurses in administration are against the young nurses because nurses now a days are adamant about education- so they threatened by them.
    2. Leonce don't care for any nurse she only cares about kissing admin ass, and bettering herself- with no Qualification.
    3.Government can help by agreeing with overseas countries who need nurses i.e Canada- Canada wants nurses govn't can agree to export nurses for 5 years or a period of time thus:
    1. Improve the economy - how- remittance.
    2. Nurses can develop their skills and efficiency.
    3. Employment.

    Nursing should be employed on qualification and not "Friend thing' as evidence presently.

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    • i would really like to your credentials, are you even employed. St lucians are the ones letting st lucians down, and i do say there is an over 80% pass check your facts. I feel is a jealousy thing that is goin gon with you

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  5. @yes it is a fact that majority did not pass the REGIONAL NURSES EXAMS and they will be if they fail two or three times will be RNA nurses and not REGISTERED NURSES.I am subject to correction on the amount of persons who sent to Cuba ONLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. "Temporary" what does the Labour Code say about that? Yea fools even if the word Temporary has its english meaning what is the word in context of Labour and by extension the code. So all you fools who play bright you may just have temporary(literally) brightness. Temporary work without a contract could only be interpreted by the Court depending on how long the person has been employed. For you cannot have somebody working without a contract even at your house for lets say 2 years for it can be interpreted as being full-time. FOOLS & HACKS stop using threats aimed at fooling the people. Theres a tsunami coming!!!

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  7. "Temporary Nurses" I really have no time for you.
    You knew what you were in-to.
    So why did you still go ahead and incur debts when your "Future" wasn't "Sealed" or cast in stone?

    Whats about the many Saint Lucians who are out of a Job or have not worked for the past few years due to the Economic down-turn?

    Greed and selfishness gets us no where.

    Suck it up, and move the hell on.

    I will never be sympathetic to your cause.

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  8. To all who have so much to say about the present situation, take a time and figure how this is going to affect you and your family.
    @oye, you need to get your facts straight, there were not 200 cuban trained nurses, and the pass rate was not 10%. Passes account to more than 80 percent. you need to verify your facts before you intend to open your mouth. And please stop the discrimination.

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  9. I'm sympathetic to them for not having prior notice, but it's a temp job. Don't take out loans which you cant pay back, not with a temp job. Get in the real world.

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    • you need to revisit your facts, that is not true, more than 80 percent of the cuban trained students passed and there were not 200 graduates from cuba, that is not true, stop the damn discrimination

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  10. @world boss the 200 nurses that were sent to Cuba, were sent so the present PM thought he would win the elections and he still lost.Any body going to Cuba can get their degree. Think of it all 200 persons got their degree.They now, when they came back home have to sit THE REGIONAL NURSES EXAM WHICH ONLY 5-10% PASSED.You see the crap happening in Lucia.

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  11. While one would agree that temporary is short,One would expect that at least 3 months notice could have been given to the nurses giving them time to go to their banks or obligated financial partner to fix their business. There is going to be a back lash in this thing. While some persons have quams with retired nurses being employed, JUST LISTEN TO THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK, I am just working for my money, I am not killing my self when the family come they will take care of him/her. Do they really know what the Florence Nightingale story what nursing really stand for. Well GIVE ME A RETIRED NURSE TO TAKE CARE OF ME FIRST.

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  12. Everyone is talking about trinidad, i think that it should be known that, all the necessary information the ministry requested for trinidad, was given. Nurses went in to submit their names and application, and nothing became of that, yet still we are still her waiting and not a word from the ministry on the trinidad issue

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  13. And up to now no word from the Minister of health nor from the president of the nurses association. She was mute too when the woman who delivered the twins at St. Judes died and the guy from Choiseul who was stabbed...and the list goes on and on. I truly feel for the nurses who have come from Cuba qualified only to be greeted by a bleak economy. The present government were the ones in power in 2006 I think when they accepted Cuba's offer and sent the students there. So why now can't they absorb them into the public service? Why cut back on health care when the situation at the public health institutions are so appalling? Perhaps if our country's leaders spend time at the hospitals and health centers when ill they would see the critical position the country in. The retired nurses need to go permanently to make way for the new comers. Government needs to look into its practice of hiring retired and pensioned public officers back into the service. Why when you have reached the age of retirement and have agreed to go must you then agree to come back and work for a salary when there are other people who need work? I sense a revolution not unlike the Grenada revolution coming very soon!

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