Pay nurses for night duty
NURSES are hesitant about working at night because of the pay.
President of the Barbados Nurses Association (BNA) Blondelle Mullin made this disclosure at a service at St Mary’s Anglican Church in Bridgetown yesterday to mark the beginning of Nurses’ Week.
She told the Press that nurses were “still” not being paid appropriately for their services, causing them to be hesitant about working at night.
“For years now we have not been able to have a special pay for our sociable hours,” she said.
“The nurses who work night duty get the same pay as the ones who work morning. If you give the nurses a special pay for working night duty, then you get more people working night duty.
“So when the nurses have to work night, some ask: ‘Why I have to work at night when I am going to get the same pay’?”
She confirmed what the politicians have long been saying – there is a shortage of nurses in the island.
“For example, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital a ward has 28 patients and you might have two nurses on each shift; that is not adequate,” she said.
“On a surgical Intensive Care Unit, it is supposed to be one patient to one nurse and I don’t know which year we had that. Sometimes one nurse has to look after three patients in ICU and that is not right.”
Mullin said the shortage might reflect the inability of participants in the nursing programme at the Barbados Community College (BCC) to pass the regional examination and so become registered nurses as well as the fact that some nurses were still migrating.
“It takes three years for a nurse to be trained and qualified and when she is finished at BCC she has to sit [and pass] the regional examination to be registered,” Mullin explained.
“Obviously, all the nurses that leave BCC are not hired. Years ago it used to be like an automatic thing where once you finish BCC, you would just automatically stay on.
“But now you have to apply so they take on who they want to take on. And then some nurses know that they are not going to be hired, so they make arrangements to go overseas. By the time you catch them, they are gone.” (AH)