NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (April 12, 2021) — The following is an address by Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) on the occasion of International Nurses Day 2021.
Today, May 12, 2021, we celebrate International Nurses Day under the theme “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A vision for future healthcare.”
Globally, there are 43.5 million healthcare workers and it is estimated that 20.7 million are nurses and midwives. As the largest healthcare profession, nurses must play an integral part in planning the future for health care.
Our nurses need to explore new models of care which would include transforming quality and safety across the health care system, to keep abreast of new technologies and a rapidly-evolving health care system. This will require new ways of thinking and practising.
Nurses play a crucial role in health promotion; primary, secondary and tertiary health care; emergency and rehabilitative care. Over the years, their roles have expanded in scope. As the professional who spends the greatest amount of time delivering patient care, they are on the forefront of patient advocacy.
Modern-day nursing entails a more holistic approach by promoting and creating a culture of health and wellness across the continuum and not just treating a patient’s physical ailment.
Nurses are becoming community leaders and change-makers who seek to create systems that bridge the delivery of health care and the social needs of their community. Nurses, therefore, have valuable insights and unique abilities to contribute as partners in improving the quality and safety of health care.
As a ministry, we recognize that the nature of their work will continue to evolve requiring more staff and new capabilities in all settings.
Our current active nursing staff, hospital and community combined, stands a little more than 100. While all efforts are being made to increase the staff complement, we encourage those in the system to continue their education to be prepared to meet these shifting future demands and expectations.
The arrival of COVID-19 has highlighted the urgent need for critical care nurses. An aging population will see the need for more geriatric health professionals. We are now seeing more of our younger nurses wanting to pursue advanced degrees in critical areas such as anesthesia, intensive care, geriatric and theatre techniques.
To further ensure our nurses are well-prepared the ministry will continue to focus on training and competency development, to include nurses in leadership roles.
Our nurses should be fully engaged and be able to assume leadership roles in redesigning healthcare in the Nevis. They can make a critical contribution to healthcare reform and the demands for a safe, patient-centered, accessible, affordable and quality healthcare system. There is no doubt that nurses are poised to assume roles in advancing the future of health here on Nevis.
Happy International Nurses Day 2021 to all nurses both active and retired!