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International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

THE following is a statement by Chief Nursing Officer Nurse Kerthney Surage, in recognition of the World Health Organization’s dedication of 2010 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

“This year, 2020, has been designated as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization. This coincides with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale who was one of the founders of modern nursing.”

This is history in the making as all the nations of the world come together to celebrate the contributions of nurses and midwives. We are thrilled to see nursing recognised this way as the global spotlight will be on the profession during the next 12 months.

Globally, the nursing and midwifery workforce comprises almost 50% of the health workforce. In Saint Lucia, it is no different. All our midwives are nurses and represent the highest group of health professionals on island with over 1200 nurses actively working in various settings which include hospitals, wellness centers, hotels, nursing schools, nursing administration and nursing homes.

Nurses provide nursing care for patients from the womb to the tomb. From the beginning of life to the end. They provide nursing care not only to the sick but also to the well to ensure that you maintain good health .They administer life-saving vaccines and medications and provide health advice, among many other actions.

Despite the major role nurses play, there are opportunities to increase the understanding of the value of nursing in order to expand investments in education, practice and research. This year gives us an opportunity to highlight the enormous sacrifices and contributions of our hardworking, dedicated and devoted nurses and midwives.

It gives us as a country an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the contributions of nurses and midwives in improvement of health care in Saint Lucia and to raise the status and profile of the profession by actions to alleviate the many challenges faced by nurses in Saint Lucia.

We must acknowledge, appreciate and address the challenging conditions nurses and midwives face at work including the increased rate of nurse migration; job security; poor working conditions; inadequate nurse to patient ratios in clinical settings and inadequate funding and scholarship opportunities for advanced education and training.

We look forward to increased investments in the workforce to improve such conditions.

The Management and staff of Ministry of Health applaud all nurses in Saint Lucia and thank you sincerely for your contributions and dedication to the health sector and to the people of Saint Lucia.

As the Chief Nursing Officer, I celebrate this great accomplishment with all the nurses and midwives in Saint Lucia. 2020 is our chance shine and our chance to showcase and celebrate our profession. Therefore, I urge all nurses to be informed, be involved and to celebrate our profession to ensure that it is given the recognition it deserves.

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