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Nurses: value, protect and respect us

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Karen Grant-Simmons, president of the Bermuda Nurses Association, addresses the event at City Hall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The head of the Bermuda Nurses Association has issued a passionate call for broader representation for the island’s nurses, including in policymaking.

Karen Grant-Simmons, the association president, urged health authorities to ensure a place for medical professionals on executive health bodies as she pleaded for more investment in the field.

The call came yesterday at City Hall in Hamilton during a proclamation for International Nurses Day, marked globally on Sunday.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, with members of the Bermuda Nurses Association and other officials (Photograph by Alva Solomon)

Ms Grant-Simmons asked for healthcare heads to “actively and meaningfully engage with the nursing association and appoint nurse leaders to executive positions of all healthcare organisations and government policymaking”.

She said that more support was needed for education. “Globally, there are examples where nurses who have obtained additional training are highly educated and are able to work autonomously at the full their scope of their practice,” she added.

Extra education meant nurses could “provide high-quality care that is equal to or better than that provided by other professionals and at a much lower cost”.

Ms Grant-Simmons added: “Strengthening the core of primary care service delivery is key to accomplishing improved patient care experiences, better population health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

“In primary care, the nurses can assume varied responsibilities such as promoting population health, including working with communities to create healthier spaces for people to live, work learn and play.”

Show of appreciation: the International Nurses Day Proclamation draws onlookers to City Hall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

She said an ongoing global shortage of nurses was “holding the world back, not only in terms of health but also in terms of wealth for all”.

“What is needed by governing health authorities is to see the big picture, invest in nursing and reap the rewards that will surely follow.”

Ms Grant-Simmons said there was a need to advance strategies to recruit and retain nurses to head off workforce shortages “while improving compensation for nurses to ensure fair pay and benefits”.

“Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Where there is a lack of investment, healthcare systems break down, people get sick, they are unable to work, and the effect is the economies of these countries cannot flourish.”

This year, International Nurses Day is celebrated under the theme “Our Nurses, Our Future: The economic power of care”.

Ms Grant-Simmons said the theme had been chosen by the International Council of Nurses “to convey a strong message that nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system”.

“Government bodies need to value, protect, respect and strategically invest in nursing to bring considerable economic and societal benefits.”

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, who read the nurses’ proclamation, lauded the medical professionals for their dedication and “tireless efforts”.

She said the ministry stood firmly behind nurses, acknowledging their role on the island.

“Nurses are very dedicated in their profession, often are at the forefront of healthcare delivery, providing high-quality care with compassion and expertise.”

She noted that more than 800 nurses worked in the island’s healthcare sector.

Laura Lynn Jackson, the 2010 Nurse of the Year, addresses the International Nurses Day Proclamation (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ms Wilson said the “depth and breadth of the nursing profession meets the different and emerging healthcare needs of the Bermuda’s population in a wide range of settings”.

The minister said demand for nurses would be “greater than before because of our ageing Bermuda population, the continued expansion of life sustaining technology and the growth of home healthcare services”.

She said the renewed emphasis on affordable, accessible and quality healthcare would require the “expanded utilisation of all of Bermuda’s nursing resources”.

Despite the social and economic climate, Ms Wilson said nurses were renowned for promoting an environment in which “human rights, values and customs and spiritual beliefs of individuals, families and communities are respected”.

International Nurses Day Proclamation at the City Hall. Pictured: Brittany Darko, Nurse of the Year (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, thanked the island’s nurses for their ”unwavering commitment” to healthcare.

He said the health professionals’ compassion “knows no bounds”. He added: “Their impact on the lives of countless individuals cannot be overstated.”

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Published May 11, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated May 11, 2024 at 8:00 am)

Nurses: value, protect and respect us

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