Nursing shortage underscores youths lack of interest in profession, says Nevis Health Minister

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (MAY 17, 2013) — Deputy Premier and Minister of Health on Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley said the island had a critical shortage of nurses, a matter which suggested an underlying problem of the lack of interest of the island’s young people to join the noble profession.

Mr. Brantley made the comment when he addressed nurses during his first familiarisation meeting on May 13, 2013, at the Alexandra Hospital’s conference room on Government Road, since he took office earlier this year.

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“It also underscores an additional problem that we have and that is we don’t have many young people who are taking up the task of going and being trained to be nurses. This profession is a very noble profession.

“I feel that we as a Government need to do more to demonstrate our appreciation and to show to our youngsters that it is a viable profession, that they can be nurses and still be able to own a home, own a car, do the things people want to be able to do and sustain their families,” he said.

Nurses listen attentively to Deputy Premier and Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration Hon. Mark Brantley at the Alexandra Hospital’s conference room

Notwithstanding, Mr. Brantley said the NIA which had taken office late January 2013 had been seeking to lure young people to the profession with the small but significant step of increased entry salaries for nurses.

“I realise in our last budgetary discussions, that we have raised, I believe, the starting point for salaries for nurses. That might not affect most of you because you have been nurses for some time but, certainly those that are coming in afresh; they will be starting at a slightly higher point in the scale than used to be the case.

“It’s not huge but these are small incremental steps that we are trying to take, to demonstrate to our nurses that they are absolutely critical to what we do,” he said.

The Health Minister also stated that the Administration was appreciative of work that the nurses did and despite a difficult fiscal inheritance they had been trying to show appreciation with limited resources and through partnerships in the Private Sector.

Nurses during meeting with Deputy Premier and Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration Hon. Mark Brantley at the Alexandra Hospital’s conference room

“We have inherited a situation of course that is common throughout the Region of very difficult fiscal circumstances, put bluntly the money just isn’t there but we have been trying—with the limited resources we have and from the partnership, as you heard, TDC, Horsfords, places like Cape Air and others—to demonstrate in little ways that you are appreciated.

“You are truly appreciated and what you do is absolutely important to the survival of the island and the island’s people. I want to thank you. I want to say to you that what I can do as Minister I will do. Whatever service that I can provide; whatever partnership I can provide with the nurses, please, my door is open, you can always call on me. I will try to do the best that I can…defiantly I am always there and I am always available,” he said.

Mr. Brantley told the Nurses that he recognised the critical importance of their work and the Ministry of Health would do whatever it could, to demonstrate that and would continue to do so.

“Thank you for your service on behalf of the Nevis Island Administration and on behalf indeed of the people of Nevis. For those of you in the communities for those of you at the hospital, wherever you may work, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the continued service that you have been giving to the island of Nevis. Thank you and may God bless all of you,” he said.

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