‘Too long for nurses to reach top’
IT TAKES TOO LONG for public health nurses to reach a managerial position, says Acting Chief Public Health Nurse Claudette Casey.
She made this charge on Sunday at a service at Bethel Methodist Church marking the opening of Community Health Nurses Week. “It takes so long to reach the top,” she said.
“They have to go through the five-year training, they qualify as RN (registered nurse), then they work probably for another four years, then they become midwives and probably work for another three years, and by the time they reach public health they are about 40 to 45, and I think that is something we need to correct.”
Casey said those challenges should be seen as an opportunity for community health nurses to rise to the task and become leaders and forward thinkers with the objective of reshaping communities to meet the needs of their health environment.
She said no one should underestimate the vast role the public health nurses played in the polyclinics and other health facilities.
“The public health nurse has to have experience in nursing, and also experience in midwifery because they conduct the antenatal clinics. Now we also have the challenges with chronic diseases, hypertension, the increase in diabetes, asthma, the violence and the road traffic accidents.
“So the role of the public health nurse is vast, and we are now extending our hours to ease the burden of the hospital’s Accident & Emergency (A & E) unit because problems that don’t need to go to A & E can be seen in the polyclinics,” she said.
Casey acknowledged that there had been many challenges to the nursing profession in providing quality care to the public.
“For instance, the worldwide recognised shortage of nurses, dwindling numbers of new recruits and the siphoning off of experienced nurses to better paid positions elsewhere.” (MK)