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Tuesday, May 30, 2006 

Safe staffing contributing to quality lives
Web Posted - Tue May 30 2006
IT has been shown that safe staffing contributes to better patient outcomes which are ultimately manifested in reduced health costs for individuals, families and communities and increased national productivity as patients return to the active workforce.

This was the view shared by Minister of Health Jerome Walcott recently, as he addressed the Barbados Registered Nurses Association (BRNA) seminar on Safe Staffing Saves Lives at the DC Conference Centre, Manor Lodge, St. Michael.

He said, "If our overall objective is to provide quality health services and produce a healthy population, in keeping with the Barbados Strategic Plan for Health 2002-2012, "The Health of the Nation is the Wealth of the Nation", then we must recognise that safe staffing saves lives and [should] bring about programmes and policies aimed at protecting, encouraging and managing our health professionals, especially our nurses."

The Minister noted that emphasis needed to be placed on the various categories of nurses, career paths and the appropriate training in the future, for those individuals who are interested in nursing administration, nursing education, the clinical areas, including that of nurse practitioner, and of course the neglected area of nursing research.

"Provision would have to be made to allow individuals to develop to their fullest potential in these various areas without [them] having to be transferred from a clinical stream to administration in order to progress or to be promoted as the case may be," he said.

He told members that Cabinet had already approved certain proposed changes to the structure and functioning of the General Nursing Council, and that legislative amendments relating to the nursing profession were currently with the Office of the Attorney General.

"Among the things these will address are the establishment of a registrar and a secretariat, the modernisation of various aspects of the Act, including the age of admission to nursing and importantly the area of continuing nursing education as it relates to continued registration of nurses," said Minister Walcott.

He contended that all of this was in keeping with the Report of the American Federation of Teachers that deal with nursing education and which defines Safe Staffing as an appropriate number of staff with a suitable mix of skilled levels available at all times, to ensure that patient care needs are met and that hazard-free working conditions are maintained.

With respect to the notion of hazard free working conditions, the Health Minister noted the importance of the relationship established between the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and the Medical Protection Society of the United Kingdom (UK) where, he said, "the issue of risk management is addressed in detail not only in terms of risk to the patient but in terms of risk to the staff and speaks clearly and specifically to the physical and mechanical risk that might occur in an institution like the QEH."

He disclosed also that this was included in the draft final report of the QEHs Redevelopment Consultancy where it speaks to the need to look at the reduction of hazards such as fires and malfunctioning equipment.

The issue of migration of skilled health professionals from developing to developed countries was also addressed by Minister Walcott who reiterated this was not a new phenomenon.
He explained: "In the 1960s regional health ministries were faced with a short fall of nurses as a result of migration. Now 40 years later, the phenomenon has returned; this time under the decorous term of trade liberalisation and is being classified as "trade in services". It is decorated with terms like Mode Four co-operation and the transfer of professional services from one country to another. But indeed, it is still the same."

According to the Minister, a Pan American Health Organisation study has revealed that the Caribbean is losing approximately 400 nurses per year through migration to Canada, the UK and the United States of America.
These countries are able to offer nurses more attractive terms and conditions of service and educational opportunities than we can at this present time.

Noting also that the World Bank had even attempted to show the importance of migration of nurses in terms of remittances to developing countries, Minister Walcott said that the innovative strategy known as "Managed Migration" was adopted by some governments to address the shortage of nurses. This development has been a major topic for discussion in recent years at international nursing fora.

Observing that this had resulted in various interpretations and positions on the topic of managed migration, Minister Walcott said, "In our region our strategy is to train adequate numbers of nursing personnel to deliver quality healthcare services to an ever demanding public, which is ever conscious of its rights, and of course to provide safe staffing in terms of the numbers of nursing personnel".

In addition, the strategy addresses such issues as recruitment, retention, continuing nursing education and the terms and conditions of work and mechanisms for recognising the importance and value of nursing  all key components of the managed migration strategy for this region.

Barbados Advocate ©2000

A hospital executive would feel more comfortable contracting a nurses from an agency dedicated to temporary medical staffing than from a one-stop-shop that also places welders, janitors and filing clerks.

Try to visit this site How to start a nursing home its a nursing guide.. And its a solution to the nursing shortage crisis. Lets stop the nursing shortage crisis!

A hospital executive would feel more comfortable contracting a nurses from an agency dedicated to temporary medical staffing than from a one-stop-shop that also places welders, janitors and filing clerks.

Try to visit this site How to start a nursing home its a nursing guide.. And its a solution to the nursing shortage crisis. Lets stop the nursing shortage crisis!

The depth of this crisis surely stirs reflections about the nature of some economic policies, and the impacts of some governmental responses vis-à-vis social development and public arrangements. On one hand within this paradigm there is a strong polarization between two approaches in terms of economic growth and their outcomes on health-care, capacity building and supportive and shared social arrangements. And for developing countries if we take into account two economic scenarios, namely: "growth mediated", and "support-led" processes, the policy debates should pursue the investigations of arguments vis-à-vis the creation of fast economic growth and employment orientations; while on the other hand also examining the effectiveness of discourses aiming toward issues of resource allocations for social investments as they can be essential to strike the right balance in terms of relative costs for health care capacity building. In my understanding, I think that these elements set the tone for comparative approaches to address and work toward the implementation of comprehensive national strategies in economic growth alongside with supportive social arrangements.

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