As Dominica celebrates Nurses Appreciation Day, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Helen Royer, has expressed the need for more nurses in the healthcare system.
At a ceremony on Friday morning, she revealed that despite the government’s efforts to ensure the improvement and welfare of nurses, the void remains, due to increased demands brought about by the changing dynamics of healthcare.
“In the year 2010, the government approved 94 nursing positions, at the request of the Ministry. This was facilitated by our then-honourable Minister (Julius) Timothy,” Royer noted. “Notwithstanding, we continue to have a lag and we continue to have a void for more nurses because the dynamics of health has changed.”
However, she assured that the Ministry will remain committed to providing avenues for nurses’ motivation and development.
“While there is a void and there is a gap, we have delivered,” she said. “We will continue, however to explore other methods to help in the motivation of nurses in the nursing service, and improvement in their professional and personal development.”
Royer cited the remuneration of nurses with specialized posts to basic training, the purchasing of necessary equipment to improve healthcare, refurbishment of health facilities, and the funding post-graduate studies for nurses at all levels, as evidence of the Ministry’s commitment to the workforce.
Meanwhile, Liaison Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Martin Christmas, underscored what he described as the “unique” role of nurses in healthcare.
“Nurses are at the very heart of healthcare. They have more direct contact with patients and with their families than any other healthcare professional,” he articulated. “Their responsibility for the well-being of the patient and their family remains critical. Their role in healthcare is quite unique.”
Departments of the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), district hospitals, and several nurses, both active and retired, were recognized for their service on Friday morning.
Florestine Lewis and Caesarina Ferrol were given special commendation by the Ministry of Health.
Jolly’s Pharmacy Ltd. and J. Astaphan & Co. Ltd. were recognized as sponsors of the many tokens.
Nurses Appreciation Day was celebrated under the theme “Nurses: A Force for Change: Improving Health Systems’ Resilience,” and is part of Nurses’ Week, which is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of Florence Nightingale.
Nightingale, who is recognized as the founder of modern nursing, was born on May 12, 1820.