Gov't working on five-year plan for nurses
Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter
THE MINISTRY of Health is in the process of developing a five-year strategic plan to retain registered nurses in the island, according to Chief Nursing Officer Dr Leila McWhinney-Dehaney.
"We are working on a five-year strategic plan for training specialist nurses, and this is part of a strategic approach to training nurses.
"We can't hold the nurses, but you have to keep revisiting how you retain your nurses, and one way in which we are doing it is to actually afford them training, which has its limitations, because we have to be able to train so many that whoever goes we still have enough on the ground," said McWhinney-Dehaney
However, she was unable to give details of the plan.
The chief nursing officer was speaking with The Gleaner shortly after a welcome ceremony for 45 Cuban nurses who will be placed in health facilities across the four health regions.
Dr McWhinney-Dehaney said recruiting the nurses is not a permanent approach to resolve the problem in the health system, but instead one of the ways that the ministry use to ensure that patients are not affected by the critical shortage.
Not enough nurses
"We are short of specialist nurses. We do train specialist nurses, but not enough for the system, so we have at the request of the region gone and selected these 45 nurses who will go in the system, and of course we are expecting the system to be boosted by this number coming on," she added.
Of the total number of nurses who will be here for two years, 17 will be placed in primary health facilities, while the others will be heading to specialist areas such as accident and emergency, operating theatre and intensive care.
Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Jamaica Yuri Gala Lopez said the arrival of the nurses is an example of the active programme of cooperation between Jamaica and Cuba in the field of health.
"Cuba's cooperation with Jamaica is part of a wider cooperation with other Caribbean countries. The arrival of this group will contribute to the strengthening of the relationship between the people and governments of Jamaica and Cuba," he said.
Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson, in a speech read by Chief Medical Officer Dr Eva Lewis Fuller, commended the initiative and thanked the Cuban government for the kind gesture.
According to one of the nurses, Amaury Cabrera Regal, anaesthetist, he is looking forward to serve the people of Jamaica.
"We are proud to be here in this wonderful country. It is a pleasure to strengthen the relationship between Cuba and Jamaica. We hope to help the Jamaican people, and we hope to acquire a lot of experience and increase our knowledge as well," he said.