Opposition Leader Mia Mottley says there is a shortage of nurses at the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and she has suggested a way of remedying the situation.
“I can tell you first hand that we still have a shortage of nurses at the QEH,” she said in the House of Assembly yesterday.
“What we need to do is that a lot of people who are just studying generically management or studying other areas for which there are not immediate opportunities for employment need to be guided into these areas for which there is not only a local deficiency but regional and international deficit in respect of the numbers of trained persons. Nursing is an area where there is high demand,” Mottley suggested.
Speaking in the House of Assembly on the Caribbean Accreditation Authority Education In Medicine and Other Health Professions ( Incorporation) Bill, 2016, Mottley contended that Barbados must continue to export skills, such as nursing.
In fact, she recalled that there was a debate in Parliament in 1850 when Barbados was exporting pan-boilers and other artisans within the sugar industry to Guyana.
“That is our strength, but we have to get the programme of training. Not just training, but we have to get the attraction of the students with talent to be interested in the training in respect of an area such as nursing. Nursing is a dignified profession. This country’s lone female Governor General Dame Nita Barrow was a distinguished nurse, not just in this region, but globally. There are others in Trinidad and Tobago who are known globally.”
She charged that for some reason in today’s world of glamour and glitz, those noble professions that require people to give of themselves and to treat what they are doing as a high vocation did not seem attractive to young people.
The Member of Parliament for St Michael North East questioned whether the young people were being appropriately sensitized to the fact that a highly trained registered nurse not only earned well, but also was highly respected and valued.
Mottley also pointed out that a well-trained nurse had more freedom of mobility than a Caribbean lawyer or engineer. “Not just freedom of mobility within the Caribbean, but freedom of mobility across the world. Those skills are so acutely needed in other parts of the world that if you can become an appropriately trained registered nurse, and if you have developed a reputation for caring and for diligence in your profession you will go farther than those who want to practice law who are just trained in legal systems unique to a jurisdiction,” Mottley argued.