The following is an address delivered by Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) as Nevis joins the international community in recognizing International Nurses Day 2022 on May 12.
International Nurses Day is celebrated on May 12th annually to highlight the invaluable work of our nurses. This year we join the rest of the world in recognizing our nurses under the theme: “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health.”
According to the International Council of Nurses (ICN), this year’s theme “focuses on the need to protect, support, and invest in the nursing profession to strengthen health systems around the world.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that there are close to 28 million nurses globally, accounting for almost 60 percent of the healthcare workforce. For that reason, nurses are often considered the backbone of the healthcare system. It is therefore essential that we strengthen and invest in our nursing workforce.
We must invest in our nurses as leaders, advocates and innovators as this is critical to ensuring that they are equipped to guide, lead and be role models for the future of nursing in Nevis and the Federation as a whole.
We must invest in our nurses so that they have the necessary skills to do their jobs. Professional competency is linked with empowerment and the delivery of quality patient care. Not only that, but studies have also shown that a supportive and empowering work environment provides nurse’s retention, job performance and reduces burnout.
The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) has committed its fullest support to invest in nursing as a means of building a resilient and highly qualified workforce.
We must also invest in our nurses to prepare for present and future health challenges such as emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, the growing burden of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), an aging population, and health challenges associated with climate change.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic of NCDs continue to take a toll on many health systems and the nursing workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has even more so magnified the critical shortage of nurses globally and highlighted the urgent need for governments to seriously invest in Nursing.
The Nevis Island Administration has seen this need and is committed to supporting and investing in nursing and to respecting their rights to secure health for all.
We continue to encourage individuals to become a part of this very noble profession. We continue to offer financial assistance to those who enter the various nursing programmes at Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC). It must be noted that just recently four persons entered the Enrolled Nursing Assistant Programme and four entered the Nursing Degree programme at CFBC. We also continue to offer financial assistance to those nurses who wish to specialize in critical areas such as anesthesia, public health nursing, and theatre techniques to name a few.
On this day, we stand in support and solidarity with our nurses recognizing that investing in Nurses is a prerequisite for ensuring global health and Universal Health Coverage. Happy International Nurses Day 2022!
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