Member of Parliament for Fyzabad, Dr. Lackram Bodoe MP, is urging Government to make it a high priority to ensure that this country does not lose any more of its nurses to other countries.
His appeal comes in the wake of the Registered Nurses Association president revealing that many of this country’s nursing professionals continue to migrate to other countries, notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Fyzabad MP, a former chairman of the South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), the fact that local nurses are prepared to work in other countries where the pandemic situation is much worse than in T&T speaks volumes about their level of job dissatisfaction and frustration.
The full text of the MP’s statement, follows…
ACT NOW TO STEM THE EXODUS OF NURSES
The revelation by the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association, Mr. Idi Stuart that many of our senior nurses are leaving our shores to work elsewhere is worrisome.
Nurses form the backbone of any healthcare team and are a scarce resource globally, and are of great value to any healthcare system. This is especially so in this COVID-19 pandemic.
Even prior to the onset of COVID-19, there were vacancies for nurses in all of our Regional Health Authorities. The creation of the parallel healthcare system to battle the pandemic would have exacerbated this situation since many nurses would have been reassigned to the hospitals in Couva, Caura, and Arima and to other facilities identified to deal with COVID-19 patients. The roll out of our vaccination program, whenever it starts, would also require more nursing support.
The assertion by Mr. Stuart that junior nursing personnel are now being called upon to man intensive care units and high dependency units means that patients are at risk of receiving suboptimal care. It is not fair to nurses nor to patients to have them perform duties for which they do not yet have the requisite experience or training. This situation can very well put patients’ lives at risk.
Nurses have served our nation well over the years and have put their lives on the line as key frontline workers in this pandemic. The fact that they are prepared to put their lives at even greater risk by taking up jobs in countries like the UK and the USA where COVID-19 numbers are higher, speaks to the lack of job satisfaction and mounting frustration that nurses must be experiencing within our system. Patients in our healthcare system need to have the assurance that there are enough nurses to competently care for them, especially in intensive care and high dependency units.
I call upon the Minister of Health and the Government to examine this situation urgently, and to treat with the issues raised by the TTRNA president as a matter of priority so as to stem this exodus of nurses.
Our country cannot afford to lose valuable healthcare workers at this critical time.