BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE Federation joined the rest of the world on yesterday (May 12) to celebrate the critical role nurses play within the health sector, and the continued impact they have as the Government seeks to bolster healthcare.
Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Dr. Terrance Drew is seeking to grow the profession through “recognition and rejuvenation of the workforce”.
In his address to recognize this year’s International Nurses Day, Dr. Drew reminded of the important role nurses play in the deivery of healthcare, including the maintenance of the lives and livelihood of many in a society that is plagued by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and gun violence.
“In St. Kitts and Nevis, our nurses and midwives have a critical role to play in shaping the future of the healthcare system. In fact, nurses in the Federation account for most of the technical human resource [sic] in the public health sector in their application of evidence-informed health principles to protect the health and well-being of patients and the public at large,” Dr. Drew said.
“Our nurses continue to contribute significantly to the achievements of the priority areas of the Ministry of Health, such as improved immunization coverage, sustaining the fight against NCDs and communicable diseases and improved mental health, among others,” Dr. Drew said as he acknowledged the continued contributions nurses and midwives make on a daily basis in the Federation.
It is for that reason, he committed to doing all in his power to work collaboratively to promote and enhance the nursing profession as the backbone of the healthcare system.
He also stated that that was evident in the appointment of the Principal Nursing Officer, which is consistent with “my Government’s commitment to develop and implement the strategic priorities and policy framework necessary to promote the development of a highly skilled and professional workforce. Significant steps have been taken in the delivery of Leadership Training to Nurse Managers from both St. Kitts and Nevis of the last few months”.
The People’s Labour Party (PLP) also acknowledged the contributions of the nursing fraternity to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, explaining that “it is responsible, in large measure, for the significant strides we have made as a nation in terms of public health, wellness and institution-based nursing care over the years”.
“The PLP also recognises that these health and wellness gains could not have materialized if it was not for the tenacity, dedication, professionalism and calling of our retired nurses who laboured tirelessly in our communities – through thick and thin – from our colonial era straight through to present day. In short, our nurses are responsible, to a great extent, for the relatively high standard of health and wellness our citizens and residents currently enjoy,” the statement read.
Dr. Rondalyn Dennis-Bradshaw, Principal Nursing Officer, pledged to continue to implement and sustain evidence-based initiatives “to improve the patient experience and to ensure that all nurses integrate best practices and innovation in all healthcare systems”.
Dr. Dennis-Bradshaw stressed that nurses and midwives play a pivotal role in achieving those outcomes, and it is essential that they are equipped with the right tools to provide patients with compassionate care that is individualized to their needs.
“The Office of the Principal Nursing Officer is fully committed to the continued professional development of all Nurses and to working collaboratively with the leaders and staff of both institution-based and community-based nurses in St. Kitts and Nevis to advance the health of our communities. Through the Ministry of Health, we are currently implementing various strategies to encourage nurses to pursue continuous professional education and specialty certification in a variety of specialized areas, such as Intensive Care, Hemodialysis, Operating Theater Technique, Public Health, Nursing Administration and Education, Psychiatry, Accident and Emergency and Oncology to ensure our nurses are equipped to provide quality health care services,” Dr. Dennis-Bradshaw said.