According to press reports out of Jamaica, the country lost over 200 of its specialist nurses in the public health system last year.
The huge loss of nurses was partly due to migration or resignation.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark Nurses’ Week, president of the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ), Janet Coore-Farr reportedly said, “In 2014, 200 specialist nurses migrated to other countries or resigned from the public sector to work in the private sector.”
She posited that the severe shortage of nurses in the public health sector is having a crippling effect on services provided to patients.
Jamaicans, she said, have had an ongoing complaint about the poor patient care meted out them over time.
The attrition of so many nurses will not make it any easier for patients.
She, however, said that the NAJ would focus on filling the gap with nurses who are trained but currently unemployed.
Dr Andrei Cooke, chairman of the South Eastern Regional Health Authority, in his remarks noted that nurses are the backbone of health care in Jamaica.
“Since the beginning of time, the nursing profession has been one of much honour and importance to Jamaica, as to the world,” Cooke said, and lauded the nurses “for their service across Jamaica”.
Shirley Hibbert, deputy chief nursing officer in the Ministry of Health, who delivered greetings behalf of Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson, lauded the work nurses were doing in Jamaica, adding that they are the cornerstone of the health sector.
She said that regardless of the challenges nurses remained committed to provide unwavering service to the health sector.
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