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We must take better care of our nurses – Skelton

Minister of Health Ronnie Skelton speaks with a resident during an event at Peebles Hospital

While stating that he has received many reports about the ‘great work’ nurses have been doing, Minister of Health and Social Development Ronnie Skelton said he will ensure there is an improvement in mechanisms to better provide for the nurses’ healthcare needs.

“While it is important to uplift and encourage our nurses, it is perhaps more important to recognize their needs as well. As we have come to realize, nursing is one of the most stressful professions. Our nurses can suffer from conditions such as compassion fatigue, moral distress, and burnout. Therefore, we must take better care of them…”

“The Ministry of Health and Social Development will collaborate with the BVI Health Services Authority to strengthen their existing in-house services, and create others where needed to promote the health and wellness of our nurses. It has been said many times that healthy nurses make a healthy nation,” Skelton said in observation of Nurses Week from May 6 to 12.

He declared that he fully supports the American Nurses Association’s focus on improving nurses’ health, as well as the Association’s designation of 2017 as the year of the nurse.

Skelton added that, when nurses are healthy, their patients are more likely to be healthy.

“Our nurses interactions with patients provide them with an opportunity to be a model of good health. Research has shown that a healthy nurse is more prone to educate and encourage patients regarding the maintenance of their wellness, and the patient is more likely to heed the advice of a nurse who is perceived to be healthy. In this way our nurses can assist with improving the wellness of our people.”

The minister continued: “While we celebrate our nurses with the observance of Nurses Week, we must also promote activities throughout the year and beyond that will provide them with the education, training and facilities that will enable them to improve and maintain their wellness.”

Skelton commended the nurses for what he suggested is the smooth transition into the New Peebles Hospital, as well as for the continuous improvement of nursing care.

“In my role as Minister for Health and Social Development, I have received many reports of the great works our nurses are doing at our new Peebles Hospital, and how well they have transitioned to the new facilities, and adapted to the new technologies.”

“Members of the community inform me almost regularly of the continuous improvement of nursing care in our health care system. And, of course, my personal healthcare needs have given me first-hand experience and knowledge of the compassion, dedication, commitment, resilience, and professionalism of our nurses,” added the minister.

He also encouraged members of the public to also take the opportunity to show the nurses appreciation, especially throughout this week. “As we observe Nurses Week 2017, I urge everyone to let our nurses know how much we appreciate them – not only those of us who have experienced their compassion and love, but all of us.”

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