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Posted: Monday 28 March, 2022 at 6:51 PM

Locals being encouraged to join nursing profession

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE Ministry of Health is looking at ways  to get more persons involved in the field of nursing, and that can only be done by providing them with an encouraging environment.
    That is part of a statement coming from Health Minister Akilah Byron-Nisbett during an interview with SKNVibes News.  


    The Federation is currently faced with a shortage of nurses and the Government has been forced to source medical practitioners from the Philippines.
    Getting more persons involved in that profession has been a sore point for successive governments, and the Minister has the topic as a priority under her tenure at the helm of the health sector.
    “I’ve asked our Health Promotion Unit to see how best we can do some kind of campaign to want people to go into nursing,” the Minister said.
    She noted that how the Government would fill the gap in the short term is another problem that must be looked at. “ As you know, we have brought in nurses from as far as the Philippines as well as Cuba in terms of helping to fill that gap,” Minister Byron-Nisbett said.
    But on the ground, reality has hit the Government as it was forced to ask retired nurses to return and fill the gap in the interim during the height of the COVID-19 period.
    The Minister pointed to doing more outreach and presenting it to persons who might be interested in a manner that they could see it as a successful career choice. 


    Concerns were expressed time and time again by critics and those in the service that it could be a case that the Government has not provided a proper incentive package to prospective nurses 
    But that is an area that the Minister has denied, pointing out that “the salary structure for all levels of nurses was revised in 2019-2020”.
    “Right now, as it is, the nurses are receiving the highest remuneration within the public service system. Nurses who successfully completed their degree, pass their licensure exam and all the regional examinations are now being remunerated at the degree scale at K83 and higher,” the Minister disclosed.
    However, many who are interested in the field of nursing remain concerned about the examinations. 


    In order to be certified, nurses have to sit local and regional exams. According to the Minister, nurses previously had three tries in order to pass the regional exams, but a fourth try was included. 
    And in order to assist more persons to become certified, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College will provide assistance to ensure those students are successful.
    It is now left to be seen whether more persons will be interested in the profession which is under threat in the Federation. In St. Kitts and Nevis there is more than 150 nurses on the registry.



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