November 13, 2017
Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Duane Sands said being fully cognizant of the value of Nurses, and the essentials of having a strong, viable complement of nurses and nursing professionals, The Bahamas Government has a vested interest in the sustainability of the Nursing workforce and the advancement of the Nursing profession.
“Therefore, The Bahamas Government is presently placing as a major priority, focus on areas of career paths, salaries and improved working conditions as a means to retain and increase the employ of trained nurses,” Dr. Sands said during the Nurses’ Association of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas (NACB) 40th Annual Educational Conference held at the School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Grosvenor Close Campus, November 9, 2017.
He also noted that focus is being given to the training and education of nurses, for increased scholarship opportunities and stipends for nursing students, support for specialised post-basic nursing programmes and advanced training of nurses.
“With the mobilisation of these initiatives brought forward by my Ministry, I can say with confidence, this Government is committed to offering its support [of] these initiatives which will optimistically retain our Nurses and buoyantly enhance the recruitment process.
“Doing so will also provide the necessary support to nurses bringing about a greater awareness and recognition of the value of Nurses in our society.”
Dr. Sands said during his term in office, he will seek to further the Government’s commitment to advancing the Repeal of the Nurses and Midwives Act, which will allow for nurses to practice to the fullest extent of their education, training and expertise, thus strengthening the country’s ability to provide improved access to high quality, easily affordable, modernised health care services for the people of The Bahamas.
The Health Minister said that he wished to publicly applaud the innovativeness of the NACB for having a sustained annual educational forum, which is geared towards achieving its mission - “to promote the highest standard of nursing practice, encourage professional and educational advancement for nurses, and to ensure that all people irrespective of their nationality, race, colour or social origin may have optimal nursing care.”
He said, “Many will agree that Nurses are indeed ‘Champions for Health’ as they play a vital role in the delivery of quality health care service to the citizens and residents of The Bahamas.
“As a physician, I can personally attest to the quality of Nurses here in The Bahamas and rank them as ‘Champions’ as they are some of the best in the region.”
He said this proven fact is evident as the nation’s neighbours in the North are aggressively recruiting Bahamian Nurses as a result of their qualifications, high level of expertise and world-recognised competence, which stems directly from the vigorous, but excellent training programme at the School of Nursing and Allied Professions.
The Health Minister also noted that The Bahamas can boast of being on a steady trek to health care excellence having achieved many gains in the delivery of quality health care over the past 40 years most of which came as a result of the work and leadership of Nurses.
“Most recently, Nurses to their credit, played an intricate role with the implementations of the Direct Observation Treatment Shot Course (DOTS) Programme, the mother-to-child transmission of Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and the Expanded Immunisation Programme.”
He added, “Nurses also provided much-needed guidance in the development of other maternal and child health programs that are ongoing in a number of our public health institutions. The success of each of these programmes is definitely attributed to the contributions of Nurses.”
By Llonella Gilbert
Bahamas Information Services