Regional discussion to focus on adequate pay for nurses

Antigua Observer:-Three-hundred nurses from 22 countries will converge in Antigua & Barbuda beginning this weekend for the Caribbean Nurses Organisation 30th Biennial Conference, and President of the Caribbean Nurses Organization, Antoinette Paterson Bartley said along with the many challenges nurses face, the issue of proper remuneration will be among the topics discussed.

“The governments have said, in all its documents, that they are unable to pay us what we deserve. We recognize a speech was made by Director General [of the World Health Organization (WHO)], Margaret Chang, and we support that speech that ‘until nurses becomes a priority it will not be given the attention it so desires.’ We support that statement,” Paterson Bartley told OBSERVER media.

Speaking ahead of the conference that will runs from October 16-22, the CNO president said Caribbean governments can do more to address the low remuneration for members.

“The work and worth of our nurses is under recognized, and we strongly believe that the time has come for nurses to be remunerated appropriately. We know there are financial challenges, however we believe that the government –the powers that be –can do better in terms of remuneration,” she said.

Nurses are classified as essential workers, however Paterson Bartley said the challenge is convincing the policy- makers to pay the nurses their worth.

The conference seeks to give nurse an opportunity to continue with their professional education while they interact with Caribbean and North American colleagues.

Several major topics are down to be discussed at this weekend’s conference, which will comprise sessions in leadership through the frontline lens. Presentations from Caricom and Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and a look at epidemiological profiles of new and reemerging diseases and the roles nurses play.

The theme for the two-day conference is “Nurses and Midwives, Pioneers in Healthcare.”

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