RN’s to enter the system

The status of Registered Nurses (RN) in Grenada is expected to be regularised by the end of November.

Health Minister Sen. Ann Peters – the matter is now under control

Health Minister Senator Ann Peters disclosed that her ministry has the permission to fill 26 Registered Nurses {RN’s} positions, and to increase the staff nurses positions by an additional 33 persons in one instance, and 80 generally.

Sen. Peters who appeared on the “Sundays with George Grant Programme,” said Cabinet agreed in July 2011 to create the positions of RN that never existed before.

She said it is done to allow for young people to enter the system formally, and to allow the nursing faculty to look at how they would utilize their skills.

Last week, the RN’s took to the streets to press home a call to government to have them regularized in the system.

They said for just a little over four years they have been receiving a stipend of $700.00 per month.

On July 4, Cabinet granted permission for 150 positions to be filled, and 80 Staff Nurse positions.

However, at the Ministry of Finance a decision was taken to have the positions filled on an incremental basis due to the financial and economic constraints facing the country.

Sen. Peters said even before the RN’s protest, a sub-committee headed by Cabinet Secretary, Gemma Bain-Thomas was appointed by Cabinet to address the situation.

The issue with RN’s falls in line with Caricom’s decision, at the level of the Regional Nurses Body to manage the exodus of nurses from the region in the late 1990’s.

One of the decisions taken was to move Schools of Nursing from the auspices of the Ministries of Health and have them placed under an educational institution like colleges or universities.

In March 2008, Grenada signed the Memorandum of Understanding to transfer the School of Nursing from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Education via the T.A. Marryshow College (TAMCC).

The Pan American Health Organisation developed a manual to guide the transition process, but according to Sen. Peters the new administration only got sight of it on its way to the garbage dump in 2010.




The senior government minister said it was discovered that there was no guideline for absorbing the graduates from TAMCC.

She said when the training of nurses was under the Ministry of Health, it was defined as an apprentice-type training programme.

Upon the transfer of the programme, it became a full student status programmme.

Sen. Peters said the policy developed gave options for sustaining the student nurses.

They could have received a stipend during their course of study, arrangements could have been made for them for loans and special grants, or scholarships could have been offered to them.

Sen. Peters said it was decided to offer the students a stipend.

She said at present the matter is now under control, and expressed regrets that the RN’s had to resort to a street protest.

The Health Minister also announced that her ministry has embarked on a wide-ranging training programme for nurses.

She said five nurses have been trained in post basic psychiatry in Jamaica, seven in intensive care nursing in Trinidad, Guadeloupe and Jamaica, two have done specialised training in intensive care for very small babies, and one has done the operating nursing room programme in Jamaica.

Two other nurses were engaged in the oncology nursing programme in Trinidad and Tobago, another two were engaged in the dialysis programme in Barbados, and two are now being trained in specialised pediatric nursing in China.

Another three nurses are being exposed to specialised maternal health care and midwifery in China.

Sen. Peters said in recognition of the need to build the oncology programme in the Ministry, one nurse is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science Degree on oncology nursing at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago.

Two District Nurses are currently doing the Public Health Nursing Programme, which Grenada has not participated in for a number of years.

Presently, there are 1,459 employees in the public health sector.

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