Categorized | National News


When it comes to how the government should tackle the country’s chronic nursing shortage, Nurses Union Secretary General, Julian Mullings says initiatives and ideas have been presented, but up to this point, nothing has  come to fruition. 

Responding to a statement made by Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands on the shortage of nurses in the country, Mr. Mullings said that more than 15 years ago the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)  said that various countries should begin initiatives in recruitment and retention of nurses. However, The Bahamas is lagging behind.

“Several countries have begun their initiatives and are reaping the rewards for their efforts. 

“Initiatives were presented, and ideas were presented to the Ministry of Health on several occasions. To-date the Ministry of Health cannot state what they have done to correct this anomaly in this regard,” Mr. Mullings said. 

During a recent press conference, Mr. Mullings stated that the country will continue to have a shortage of nurses in the country because no initiative has been put in place to retain them.

“What initiative has been put in place for The Bahamas to correct the nursing shortage in our country?

“The response made by our minister is a slap in the face. Just to say we will employ additional contract workers, that’s a slap in the face to this profession and to our very own people in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

“You see recruitment companies coming over to The Bahamas recruiting our young minds. Offering them funds, better employment conditions, benefits. The nurse who remains cannot obtain an opportunity for additional studies. They’re being denied, because they don’t have their confirmation letter. They are being denied their basic pay because their confirmation has not been regularized. So, nurses are reacting, they are leaving the country,” Mr. Mullings said. 

When asked what it would take to keep the nurse in the country, Mr. Mullings suggested that the reintroduction of the bonded system could still work. 

“Initiatives have been presented but we have yet to initiate a recruitment and retention project for The Bahamas. It can be reversed. But if we continue to put our head in the sand and think it will go away. We are going to wake up with a bigger problem in years to come. 

“We must create a Recruitment and Retention Project Office that will address and encourage young Bahamians to come into the nursing profession. It has been done before and it still can be done. 

“Bond your students, give them bonded scholarships. It worked before and it can still be done now,” Mr. Mullings said. 

Nurses are demanding Dr. Sands meets  them at the negotiating table to air their grievances. In the meantime, they’ve applied for a strike poll.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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