DNA president reiterates call for support and protection for nurses

President of DNA Rosie Felix

President of the Dominica Nurses Association (DNA), Rosie Felix has used the occasion of International Women’s Day which was observed in Dominica last week, to appeal to the government, police force and the general public to help support and protect the nurses.

Felix made her statement in a press release issued on Monday.

“The theme for each International Women’s Day is not only for reflection but for action, not only for a day but until results are obtained. Today, I stand in solidarity with my sister nurses and raise again a longstanding issue which is gravely affecting their mental health, family life and performance at work. I feel disgusted about the increasing verbal abuse and threats of physical violence by selected individuals from the public who target health workers, the majority of whom, are female nurses,” Felix complained.

The DNA president supported her claim by pointing to some specific incidents and attacks which she said, threaten the lives of the nurses.

“The incidents at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) are most likely higher but Community Health Facilities are affected too. In the last two months attacks at the PMH have driven nurses to hide under desks, behind fridges or out of the Accident & Emergency Department in order to save their lives from the perpetrators,” Felix explained, “Last month they ran from a man who was brandishing a knife whilst looking to take revenge on a patient he claimed had injured his family member. What is most disturbing is that security personnel are either inadequate, ineffective, ABSENT or are PART of the PROBLEM.”

She went on to elaborate, “I have been informed that on February 7th a security guard was heard encouraging an angry client to stone the nurses at the A&E. He has since been fired by the security firm responsible. On March 8, I was also informed that a police officer allowed unauthorized persons to enter the department much to the inconvenience, fear and distress of the team on duty and those caring for the gunshot victim at the time.”

She also revealed that in June 2018, a male patient on Imray Ward was taken into police custody for making violent threats to a nurse.

“I am more than saddened that at a critical time like this, when nurses and doctors are leaving the public service in large numbers, more is not done to ensure a safer environment for these professionals to give care and for the public to receive care,” Felix lamented.

She expressed gratitude for “the little that is done” but insisted that any remedial action that is taken must be “effective, adequate, reliable and it must be 24-7.”

“Going forward I suggest a strong visible policy statement by the Ministry of Health, in every healthcare facility on how violent patients and visitors shall be managed according to state laws; crowd control from the gate of the facility particularly following the admission of victims of motor vehicle accidents, gun shots, murders, disasters etc,” Felix stated.

She also recommends a minimum of three police officers 24-7, two to be stationed at the A&E Department and one to patrol the compound, the withholding of weapons at the security office until the owners depart from the facility and the authorizing of security personnel to handle violent patients or visitors who pose serious threats of injury or death to health workers and patients.

“This insecure practice environment adds to the plethora of factors that push our health professionals away. The International Council Chief Executive, Howard Catton, on speaking to nursing shortage and nurse retention recently said, ‘There is no single answer to the problem of nursing shortages, no silver bullet, but as our recent policy brief showed, we need to implant a range of actions to foster positive and supportive working environments, including fair pay, safe staffing, professional and career development, and the absence of violence, bullying and harassment’  (Nursing Times, March 4, 2019).”

Felix said both nurses and citizens would benefit much if the government would only heed these recommendations.

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16 Comments

  1. Mom
    March 13, 2019

    Woman stop your fear mongering tactics and jump in the ring as a politican. In all professions, we are faced daily with life threatening situations, especially in the classrooms and the streets. Why do you think your work place is more dangerous than others? Dominicans are leaving Dominica for better opportunities. Tell me now how many nurses with Green Cards are still at the PM H. How many mass killings you had to face in the hospital? You are not representing women, but your political views.

  2. Bob Denis
    March 13, 2019

    This is all part of the perils the Black Woman goes through when dealing with the MIS-EDUCATED MAN, Black man in most cases . You see , the Black Man was never taught to respect his Women , remember , Christianity and Slavery turned him into the Animal he is today , the Education he presently receives , makes him less compassionate . Today, He sees his Mother , while at the same time devaluing all other Women not realizing they themselves came through the very same Mother . Nurses as a group of Women , have been God sent to Man , from the dawn of time , Nurses/Woman have been indispensable , it will continue to be in our time .”EDUCATE to LIBERATE” .

  3. Badbaje
    March 12, 2019

    A hospital where some of the patients admitted and cared for are victims or participants in violent crimes, shootings, stabbings, beatings, etc, and there is not a 24/7 police presence.
    And people like “In the middle” asking such questions, and making comments.
    This is not a political issue. This is a life or death issue, an issue that should be the concern of all, not just come.

  4. Dr Clayton Shillingford
    March 12, 2019

    A very sad and unfortunate situation at PMH and the nurses..Everything possible should be done urgently to STOP what is complained here..How long has this been going on?/Has it had negative impact on PMH functions relating to the medical schools Ross and All Saints???

  5. Ibo France
    March 12, 2019

    The dysfunction at the healthcare facilities and the health sector in general is precisely a mirror reflection of the entire public service. There are too many misfits (unqualified political appointees) in critical positions. There is gross dereliction of duty by this uncaring government. The frustration has reached breaking point. The nurses, police, port workers, teachers, in fact, all civil and public servants are bitterly complaining about the horrid working conditions and the meager salaries and wages they receive. If a person, an organization or a government for twenty years does something consistently bad, do you expect them to amend their ways overnight? Those presently in charge of the country’s affairs have lowered the standards of every public institution, bankrupted the country while feathering their own nest. Give them a thorough SPANKING on Election Day with your votes.

  6. %
    March 12, 2019

    The issue of protection for the nurses has been with there for so long, it is now a crying shame that no one listens ..
    Even the police who has sworn to serve, allows unauthorized people in? I feel for you all nurses!
    Guess the answer is to vote this DLP administration out.. Please go out and vote whenever it comes . It’s heartless treatment!!!
    Skerrit Must Go
    Skerrit Must Go
    LAZY Skerrit Must Go Now

    • Love ❤️ Too
      March 13, 2019

      Thanks for your enlightenment, violence or animalistic behavior shouldn’t be condoned by anyone. Ms, you created that hostile behavior and environment by mixing and inducing your political ideology into the health care system. We cannot categorize everyone as the same, therefore, we do have very good nurses. The responsibility lies within you and your behavior as the POLITICAL Mouthpiece for your party. The oath of basic human dignity you took doesn’t exist at the PHH, rather unprofessional and boisterous behavior is the norm of the day. Give Respect and human dignity and you will receive it, Professionally.

    • Thanks
      March 13, 2019

      Yes % we will excerise our Dominican right to vote and we will reject you again! Your rethrotic and desperate grab for power isn’t resonating. Give us your portfolio and accomplishments. Besides blowing hot 🥵 air on a daily basis what are you doing to enhance the plight of Dominicans.? All play and no work makes Lenox Linton a DULL person. Are you just waiting for another funeral to sing 🎶! Nurse you have to be professional first, you being the poster lady for your party can’t work. Your behavior should be to save lives not your political incorrectness. The patients at the hospitals and emergency rooms deserves human dignity.

    • Pam
      March 13, 2019

      Thanks for your enlightenment, violence or animalistic behavior shouldn’t be condoned by anyone. Ms, you created that hostile behavior and environment by mixing inducing your political ideology into the health care system. We cannot categorize everyone as the same, but the responsibility lies within your behavior as the POLITICAL Mouthpiece for your party. The oath of basic human dignity you took doesn’t exist at the PHH, rather unprofessional and biostarious

  7. In the middle
    March 12, 2019

    Where were you when the DLP candidate from Marigot was taken apart?

    • Anon
      March 12, 2019

      As the president of the Dominica Nurse’s Association how exactly is that relevant to her position? The DLP candidate was “taken apart” in a private voice note that was leaked and circulated among members of the public. So what does that have to do with the nursing profession? Idiots are rampant in this country…

    • Pam
      March 12, 2019

      Aww another butthurt diehard labourite who can’t stand when anyone points out the glaring incompetence of any government ministry. Boohoo.

    • %
      March 12, 2019

      I wonder if you understood what you read,or what someone read to you!!!
      Skerrit Must Go
      Skerrit Must Go
      LAZY Skerrit Must Go Now

    • hmm
      March 13, 2019

      Why should a nurse respond to a political matter? Leave that for the parties

      • Amino
        March 13, 2019

        Ms Felix IS in political position, as Head of the Dominica Nurses Association she is the VOICE of all Nurses, as such they look to Ms Felix to push for better conditions, pay and a safer environment, the current state of which has steadily declined during the DLP administration, thus it makes sense that she would advocate for the Nurses to look to an alternative government, since the current administration is inept and does nothing to improve the conditions under which nurses are expected to work. Ms Felix should be congratulated for having the guts to stand up for Nurses and for encouraging them to vote NO to another 4 years of DLP mis-management. Thank you Ms Felix.

  8. In the middle
    March 12, 2019

    Where were you when the DLP candidate from Marigot was broken down in pieces?

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