Salary increase, Scholarships/Training and Mentoring needed to improve Nursing in Guyana

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The Guyana Nurses Association (GNA) is calling for a salary increase and the strengthening of public health systems even as the country joins with the rest of the World in observing International Nurses’ week.

International Nurses Week is being observed under the theme, “Nurses: A voice to lead- Achieving the Sustainable Development goals.”

Locally, the Guyana Nurses Association has planned a number of activities to mark the occasion, including an awareness walk and a concert.

However, there are many challenges which nurses face and which hinders their output on a daily basis.

Staff Nurse and Vice President of the GNA, Teona Greene-Eririogu

At the Georgetown Public Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit, staff shortage is one of the major concerns raised. Staff Nurse and Vice President of the GNA, Teona Greene-Eririogu says this has led to nurses suffering from burn-out and in other cases high levels of de-motivation.

However, she believes that more attractive remuneration packages and other incentives would serve as inspiration for nurses.

“Persons are (also) not going into the Nurses’ school to teach because of the salary” she added. Greene-Erieriogu also noted that scholarships can form one motivation for better health care.

Retired Nurse, Joan Stewart

News Room also spoke with Retired Nurse, Joan Stewart who entered the field in 1978 and retired in 2014. Nurse Stewart now functions as the Public Relations Officer to the GNA and as a mentor in the nursing community.

We asked her about her thoughts on the current state of nursing and for her views on what could be done to improve it.  Her first thought is that local and central Government need to strengthen the public health care system which would, in turn, ease the influx of patients at the referral level.

However, she notes that it has been some time since public health nurses have been trained.

“The public health are the ones who are out there, who home visit, who actually see living conditions, who can actually identify areas our children may be vulnerable in, and they can actually report to child protection” and such cases she said.

News Room also spoke to Nurse Stewart on the situation regarding nursing students who continue to produce low pass rates. For this, she suggests more mentoring programmes.

She is now calling on fellow retirees to give their time and knowledge to nursing students.

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