GPHC Head advocates for higher pay, scholarships & duty-free concessions for nurses
By Kurt Campbell
On the Occasion of International Nurses Week which culminates today, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) Robbie Rambarran has called for an end to the nationwide underestimation of the importance of nurses.
While speaking to the News Room on Wednesday, Rambarran said management at the GPHC has recognised some of the challenges nurses face and are advocating to fix them.
GPHC’s management, headed by Rambarran, has offered support and advocacy in this regard, ranging from providing continuous training and the possibility of better pay, scholarships and duty-free concessions in the future.
The challenges, in large measure stem, from a shortage of nurses and this, has pushed them to work long hours, neglecting their self-care amid constant requests for higher salaries.
At the GPHC, which is the largest institution for providing healthcare in the country, there is a current complement of 754 nursing staff but despite this, the hospital remains understaffed with a deficit of 607 nurses.
Significant among this is a shortfall of 188 registered nurses which has compounded the challenges.
“I want to say to nurses at this hospital and wherever I can influence that they have a CEO acting and management who will put them at the forefront, we will advocate for them.”
“We have identified and recognised some of their challenges and we are advocating to fix some of them,” Rambarran said.
The GPHC Head disclosed that while pay increases are out of his remit, management has advanced discussion on remuneration to a high level even as they pursue other incentives.
“I know nurses complain about their salaries when compared to industry standards. I mean, that’s above my pay grade, but I make recommendations and I will continue to advocate for the improvement of their remuneration,” the CEO noted.
The GPHC has started in-house mentorship and leadership programmes in collaboration with international hospitals, according to Rambarran, he has advocated for scholarships for nurses.
“I’m getting that support for scholarships for nurses.”
Rambarran, who worked at GPHC for some 20 years, having started as a clerk and worked his way up to acting CEO, also believes that the time has come for some categories of nurses to benefit from duty-free concessions.
“I always say as well that in the police force, in the teaching profession, in the army, they would get a duty free concession in their career but our nurses don’t. I truly believe that it is something nurses should be given somewhere up in their ranking.”
“Hopefully at some point, these can become reality.”
Rambarran maintains that the shortage of nurses is significantly impacting patient care.
“There are many times we have two registered nurses to about 20 patients when the ratio is one nurse to four patients and in the critical ICU, it’s one to one. So, there is a deficiency in nursing care.
“I have said over and over again that we will build new hospitals, we will have state of the art equipment but if we don’t have the nursing care, we will be shooting ourselves in the foot,” the GPHC CEO said.
Rambarran emphasised that he is passionate about the improvement of nurses, so much so that if he had one wish it would be for nursing.
“In the entire world, in my personal life, at this particular time of my life if I was granted one wish it will be relative to the nurses’ welfare.”