Tue | Aug 20, 2019

Nurse migration threatens to surpass last year

Published:Monday | July 15, 2019 | 12:10 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Carmen Johnson (centre), president of the Nurses Association of Jamaica, holds hands in prayer with Renee Rose (second right), brand manager of LASCO Distribution and Nurse Wenice Wilson at the LASCO/Nurses Association of Jamaica Nurse of the Year 2019 Week of Activities church service at Church of God of Prophecy in St Catherine yesterday.

In an attempt to have the cohort of local nurses increased in short order, President of the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ) Carmen L. Johnson says she will this week be putting pressure on the authorities to alleviate the burdens overworked staff currently face.

The theme being observed for Nurses’ Week 2019, which started yesterday with a special church service at the Church of God of Prophecy off Old Harbour Road, St Catherine, is ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead, Health for All’.

Johnson told The Gleaner following the service that the attrition trend she is observing is of concern.

She indicated that since the start of the year, roughly 300 nurses have left the local nursing system, just 200 fewer than all of last year.

Johnson also wants the Government to fast-track implementing legislation to govern advanced practice nurses.

“Last year, it was more than 500, and to date, we are around 300, which simply means that if our employer allows things to continue at the regional health authorities, we will surpass the amount we lost last year.”

Although acknowledging that other countries faced similar problems, Johnson stressed that the need to do something about the situation is urgent.

“Though we are comfortable that we can recruit from Cuba and elsewhere, me being at the International Council of Nurses Conference in Singapore in June made me recognise that many countries are also facing a reduction in their nursing populace. Nurses are in demand, and if we do not seek to retain ours, then we are going to have a challenge.”

She continued: “The other problem is the advanced practice nurses legislation. It is full time we have the legislation so people can function independently.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com