Basseterre, St. Kitts, Aug 30, 2023 (ZIZ Newsroom): 13 Nurses are now recognized as Registered Nurses following a ceremony on Tuesday where they received their licenses which officials say was long overdue.
According to the Ministry of Health between 2009 and 2013 these nurses all studied and earned Certificates in General Nursing, Associate Degrees, Bachelor of Science, Nursing from universities in Cuba however when they returned home they were told that they did not qualify to become Registered Nurses.
3 who obtained bachelor’s degrees had their nursing licenses rescinded and the other 10 were not recognized for their achievements in Cuba.
A senior health official told ZIZ News that they were told they had to sit a regional exam, which is not state-mandated.
After about a decade of deliberations and discussions the argument was put forward that nurses from Cuba with the same qualifications as the nationals, have been recruited as Registered Nurses but the 13 were denied that position.
On the basis of this argument the Nursing Council has now recognized the 13 as Registered Nurses and on Tuesday the nurses received certificates from the Council which represents their license to practice.
Delivering brief remarks, Prime Minister and Minister of Health the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew recounted the nurses’ struggles and praised them for their perseverance.
“When you came back, you were told that you needed more training, correct?” he said. “You went back and sacrificed more and achieved a bachelor’s degree. And then when you came back, some of you were appointed as registered nurses in 2013, only to have that taken away from you. I’m very, very shocked that you all even stayed in the profession. It shows your deep commitment. I don’t think I would have said I would tell you the honest truth. It is an embarrassing situation, a humiliating situation that you did not deserve.”
He noted that the Nursing Council has made the “right decision” in recognizing their achievements and credentials and said he will attempt to pursue some form of compensation for the nurses.
“And they needs to be some reparations,” he said. “There needs to be some reparations. And I’m going to see how much compensation we can give for what you suffered….The nursing council, that is, they have visited your situation and they have taken in my estimation the correct action. And today what had been delayed for almost a decade you have now been accepted fully as nurses into the nursing profession. Put your hands together for the nurses.”
He encouraged the nurses to continue to be professional and recognized their efforts when, even while they were unaccepted as registered nurses they were given duties of managing a ward when a nurse was unavailable.
The Prime Minister also spoke of the scholarships available to nurses and noted that successful applicants will receive their full salary while they are studying.