Disgruntled student nurses are sick and fed up with the way they are being treated as they pursue their studies.
This was made clear to both the principal and registrar of the Barbados Community College (BCC), last Friday during a meeting where scores of students aired their grievances.
Also in attendance were the heads of the Health Sciences and Nursing departments.
Their main bones of contention related to the absence of a stipend as well as what they claim to be improper treatment from nurses at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
The nurses also raised concerns about having to do community service even though student doctors were exempt from doing so.
A second-year student nurse who attended the meeting told Barbados TODAY the issues were longstanding and needed to be addressed.
“If it is that the Youth Service gets stipends I don’t see why students nurses aren’t afforded that same luxury. Student nurses are basically working so if they are getting it I don’t see why we can’t get it too,” the source said.
“In the meeting the nurses also petitioned for an end to the community service which they are required to serve. It is a requirement which Government is asking of us ever since they made our tuition free. However, the student doctors aren’t being asked to do it.”
The source explained that as part of their training, student nurses are attached to the QEH and other health institutions across the island.
She said the students did not feel they were being treated fairly by nurses during those training stints.
“One of the main issues that was brought up was the treatment of student nurses at the QEH by other nurses. They complained that the staff nurses at the QEH did not want to sign the books for the students at the end of the day and if you don’t get your skill book signed then you don’t get a grade.
“We are also asking about passes for student nurses for parking and to get into the ward because when you go to the QEH you have to park really far or you have to go and beg someone for a pass so you can get parking inside, or you would have to wait really long outside the ward before you get inside,” she explained.
Additionally, the student nurse said her colleagues were not being allowed to use the QEH’s staff clinic.
She said student nurses were being turned away after being told they were not on staff.
When contacted for comment, Barbados TODAY was told that BCC principal Annette Alleyne was in a meeting. A message was left for her to return the call but none was forthcoming up to time of publication.
President of the Barbados Nurses’ Association (BNA) Joanna Waterman told Barbados TODAY she was unaware of the issues being faced by the student nurses and would have to investigate the matter before issuing a comment.