It is my esteemed honour and privilege to recognize the contributions of all nurses in St. Kitts and Nevis on the occasion of International Nurses Day, which is celebrated on May 12th, the anniversary in remembrance of the birthday of Florence Nightingale. This an occasion to grow the profession through recognition and rejuvenation of the work force. I proudly acclaim NURSING as a viable and noble profession of service.
This year, we join our voices with the rest of the world to salute all nurses for their significant and invaluable service under the theme: “Our Nurses. Our Future.”
According to the International Council of Nurses (ICN), “Our Future Campaign” is to shine a light on nurses, to move nurses from invisible to invaluable in the eyes of policy makers, the public and those who make decisions affecting health care delivery. Indeed, the demands of health care in the 21st century, call for nurses who are prepared to meet the needs of diverse patients; to be leaders; to deliver safe and high-quality patient care; and work at the top of their licenses.
In St. Kitts and Nevis our nurses and midwives have a critical role to play in shaping the future of the health care system. In fact, Nurses in the Federation account for most of the technical human resource in the public health sector in their application of evidence-informed health principles to protect the health and well-being of patients and the public at large.
Our Nurses continue to contribute significantly to the achievements of the priority areas of the Ministry of Health, such as improved immunization coverage, sustaining the fight against NCDs and communicable diseases and improved mental health among others. I acknowledge the amazing contribution that our nurses and midwives make on a daily basis and I hereby commit to do all in my power to work collaboratively to promote and enhance the nursing profession as the backbone of the healthcare system.
The appointment of the Principal Nursing Officer is consistent with my Government’s commitment to develop and implement the strategic priorities and policy framework necessary to promote the development of a highly skilled and professional workforce. Significant steps have been taken in the delivery of Leadership Training to Nurse Managers from both St. Kitts and Nevis of the last few months. Additionally, a total of eight (8) Nurses have applied for enrolment in specialty training in Jamaica and St. Lucia commencing September 2023 in areas such as Critical Care/Intensive Care, Nephrology (with Dialysis component), Operating Room Technique, Public Health, Nursing Administration and Education and we are currently exploring more opportunities for training in Psychiatry, Accident and Emergency and Oncology.
The recent Amendment to the St. Christopher and Nevis Nurses and Midwives Act in March 2023 which allows for nurses to register biennially instead of annually is further testimony of my Government’s commitment to the welfare and working conditions of our Nurses.
We envisage an exciting future for nursing as we engage in the plans and preparation for the accreditation of the JNF General Hospital. Nurses must be ready to respond to this significant development and maintain currency of knowledge of the trends in nursing that are changing patient care and outcome including the urgent need for specialized nursing professionals and the integration of technology.
As we celebrate our Nurses, we must pause to pay tribute to our local visionary trailblazers who have fallen and have left behind a legacy of leadership in their contributions including Viola Hicks, Merle Wattley, Maureen Solomon Williams, Evelyn Smithen, Helen McMahon, Mavis Harney-Browne and Sylvia Garnette and those who are still with us, including, Dame Delores Gumbs, Maureen Dickenson, Mary Victoria Walwyn, Lucille Louisie Walwyn, Maria Barker, Shirley Kelly, Henrietta Douglas-Christmas and many others who have built a solid foundation on which we now stand. We ask that you use social media, or a simple phone call to thank them for their contributions.
Sincere congratulations to all Nurses in the Institution-Based and Community-Based Nursing Services, Nurse Educators, Student Nurses, Retired Nurses, and Nurses in Private Practice as they all endeavor to provide excellent health care delivery to the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis.
We also congratulate the St. Kitts Nurses Association on their 70th Anniversary and wish them all the best as they continue to advocate on the health care issues that affect nurses and the public.
We shall continue to strengthen and invest in “Our Nurses, Our Future.”
Happy International Nurses Day 2023!
Thank you, God Bless You, and God Bless St. Kitts and Nevis.