OFFICIAL ADDRESS IN RECOGNITION OF NURSES’ DAY 2017 By Hon Wendy C. Phipps Minister with Responsibility for Health, Social Services, Community Development and Gender Affairs Friday, May 12, 2017 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Fellow Citizens & Residents of St. Kitts and Nevis: Every year the international nursing fraternity sets aside May 12th to celebrate Nurses’ Day in recognition of the critical role that nurses continue to play in the delivery of quality healthcare to persons who are sick and suffering. Our nurses in St. Kitts and Nevis have joined in this global observance of Nurses’ Day that is being staged under the theme “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”. As has been the practice for several years our local nurses have decided to spread out their celebrations over an entire week of activities. As such, this year’s Nurses’ Week spans the period May 6-13, 2017 and includes activities such as:
- Church Service at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 11th – at St. George’s Anglican Church
- Nurses’ Day Symposium & Luncheon on Friday, May 12th – at JNF Hospital, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Public Outreach on Saturday, May 13th – at Pharmarre Ltd, Bird Rock, from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
The Ministry of Health commends the nurses in St. Kitts and Nevis for staging these events to highlight the invaluable contribution of all nurses, regardless of whether they are employed in the public or private sector. Our government also realises that without nurses our national health infrastructure will come to a grinding halt. It is the committed and dedicated service of our institution and community-based nurses that has been responsible – to a great extent – for the significant strides that we continue to make in the critical area of public health and wellness. As such, it is imperative that the members of our nursing fraternity continue to improve upon their professionalism – both individually and collectively – in order to render the high quality care that is always required in the health care industry. Our present day nurses also have a responsibility to serve as good examples for our younger generations who might be seriously contemplating the pursuit of a career in nursing. As we celebrate Nurses’ Day 2017, it would do us well to be reminded of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which are referenced in this year’s theme. Every one of these 17 goals are important yardsticks by which we can assess the development of our Federation. These 17 goals are as follows:
1. No Poverty
2. Zero Hunger
3. Good Health & Well-being
4. Quality Education
5. Gender Equality
6. Clean Water & Sanitation
7. Affordable & Clean Energy
8. Decent Work & Economic Growth
9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Consumption & Production
13. Climate Action
14. Life Below Water
15. Life on Land
16. Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions
17. Partnership for the Goals It must be noted that these 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which have been agreed by all 193 Member States of the United Nations, are expected to be achieved by the year 2030. Given the advanced state of development attained in our own Federation we are well on our way to meeting these international benchmarks. To accomplish this, however, effort is required by each and every citizen doing his or her part. It also calls for strong leadership, commitment and investment from Government, the private sector and civil society organisations and institutions. Insofar as the nursing profession is concerned, it is obvious that its membership’s key role in meeting these SDG targets would be Goal #3 which calls for “Good Health and Well-being”. However, it is also clear that most – if not all of these goals – are not mutually exclusive. In fact, there is also a role for the nursing profession in the attainment of Goals #4 and #5 which call for “Quality Education” and “Gender Equality”, respectively.
What this means is that nurses should seek out all of the educational opportunities possible to hone their skill sets and thereby improve health care delivery. It also means that greater effort can be made to break the gender stereotype that still exists where it has been taken for granted that nursing is a woman’s job. The nursing profession needs male nurses just as much as it needs their female counterparts. That being said, we are happy to have some nurses in our local fraternity who are males, and the Ministry of Health welcomes even more qualified male nurses to this noble profession. Presently, there are approximately 330 nurses employed in the public sector of St. Kitts and Nevis. Most of these nurses are employed by our institution based health services. This means that their employment is performed, by and large, at our Federation’s four hospitals and the two state-run senior care facilities, namely The Cardin Home on St. Kitts and the Flamboyant Home on Nevis. The other 23 percent of our nurses are employed at our Nation’s 17 health centres. On behalf of the Federal Government I congratulate all of our nurses on Nurses’ Day 2017. We salute you for your service to the people of our Country. We also thank you for choosing nursing as a dedicated career, and we trust that your sterling service will continue to redound to the health and wellness of our people. Have a Happy Nurses’ Day 2017! May God continue to bless the people of St. Kitts and Nevis with good health, and wellness of mind, body and spirit.