Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said nurses should be praised for their good work as the majority of them are doing the best job they can.
Responding to a question to address the recent departure of a number of nurses, during the second walk through of the new National Hospital on Thursday 18 May 2017, Mr. Skerrit said the decision to move on to what they many consider “greener pastures” is an ideological one.
“It’s an ideological decision that one must make. Are we going to work together and struggle together to make life better for all of us, or are we going to abandon the country.”
He said nurses here are provided with their basic education at no cost to them as they receive their training for free.
“So it is an ideological decision, you know, whether we are nationalists or we see ourselves as individualists and we will pursue our own individual ambitions and forget about the rest of us.”
Dominica’s Treasury, the Finance Minister added, can by no means compete with that of the bigger countries where some nurses have chosen to migrate to.
“We cannot win this,” he said adding, “What we seek to do is continue to improve the working conditions of nurses and of course with the construction of this facility [new national hospital] because clearly the facility has a major impact on the nurses’ ability to deliver services.”
Mr Skerrit said citizens must take greater responsibility for their health which will in turn minimize the pressures and demands on nurses.
“Some of the things that we go to health centers for and come to the hospital for are things we could manage at our homes if we follow the directions of our nurses and so on.”
While the Prime Minister stated that generally nurses work very hard, he said in every profession, “you will have one or two who you should really send home”.
“But the vast majority of nurses are dedicated and committed to the delivery of optimal health care to our people. We must look at the one or two who might not, or should not be in the job and forget the ninety-nine who are doing an exemplary job and we must applaud the ninety-nine who are doing a fantastic job.”
Mr. Skerrit said however his government continues to address the issues confronting nurses.
“We’re providing them with training, first degrees, in specialized areas, in post-graduate training, in many respects it is financed by the state, so that nurses feel a sense of upward mobility…in many instances the way they conduct themselves and their knowledge of medicine you almost feel they are doctors themselves because they are very proficient and knowledgeable in respect to the area of both focus and discipline.”
Additionally, Mr Skerrit said nurses are the ones “really holding our health system together”.
“We have to be grateful for that rather than finding things to criticize them on because the vast majority of patients who come to the hospital for medical care will tell you that they have been well treated…the vast majority of people you would have met will tell you they have received very good care from the nurses and from the doctors at the hospital and health centers.”
The positives, he said, need to be amplified so those who are not doing well can aspire to do so.