ST.KITTS: Health Minister Hon. Phipps honours nurses on their special day

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OFFICIAL ADDRESS IN RECOGNITION OF INTERNATIONAL NURSES’ DAY 2018 by the Hon. Wendy C. Phipps, minister with responsibility for health, social services, community development and gender affairs, Saturday, May 12, 2018:

Fellow Citizens and Residents of St. Kitts and Nevis,
Our local nursing fraternity joins the rest of their international counterparts in celebrating International Nurses’ Day today, Saturday, May 12, 2018. This global celebration of the nursing profession is held each year on what would have been the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern-day nursing, who was born in 1820. International Nurses’ Day is an opportunity to recognise all of our nurses who consistently play an invaluable role of delivering quality nursing care to persons who are sick, suffering or on the road to recovery.

The theme selected by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) for Nurses’ Day 2018 is “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Health is a Human Right.” This theme is considered to be quite timely, given the leadership role and pivotal participation that nurses, the world over, are in the habit of demonstrating in the noble mission of delivering health care for all. The federal Ministry of Health is also of the view that the theme is also a reflection of the nursing fraternity’s commitment to the attainment of the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – in particular, Goal No. 3, which speaks to “Good Health and Well-Bein.” Of course, SDG Goal No. 3 also is a clear reflection of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, part of which addresses the right to a good life, food and shelter, and the right of every person to be cared for, regardless of age, gender, race, socio- economic status, or disability.

As is their practice, our local nurses have spread out their celebrations for International Nurses’ Day over an entire week of activities. As such, this year’s Nurses’ Week would have covered the period May 6-12 and includes activities such as the following:

  • A church service this past Sunday, May 6, at Cayon Church of God
  • An institutional luncheon held yesterdayike, Friday, May 11, at JNF Hospital
  • A health fair at Independence Square May 9
  • A Nurses’ Ball with the theme “Nurses in Splendor” tonight at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel

A number of special events have also been held in Nevis, in celebration of
Nurses Week 2018.

The federal Ministry of Health commends the nurses in St. Kitts and Nevis for staging these events to highlight the priceless contribution of all nurses, regardless of whether they work in the public or private sector. Our government is cognizant of the fact that the role of our nurses is an indispensable one. Without nurses, our entire health infrastructure would be crippled. We salute our nurses in private practice, and those working in the institution and community-based health care settings. Our government knows that the strides we have made in public health and wellness could not be achieved without their service and effort.

The government of St. Kitts and Nevis is aware that as our population ages and we continue to confront the formidable challenges being posed by chronic noncommunicable disease (CNCDs), we would have to ensure that the members of our nursing fraternity continue to improve upon their professionalism, skill sets and knowledge in order to address these issues. Moreover, as I would have indicated in last year’s Nurses’ Day address, our current cadre of nurses, which numbers approximately 330, also have a big responsibility to serve as positive role models for our young men and women who may be seriously considering a career in nursing.

We also encourage our present stock of nurses to pursue specialized nursing training and qualifications in areas such as oncology, haemodialysis and intensive care administration. In this way, our federation would be less dependent on the recruitment of foreign nurses with specialized skill sets to meet the ever-changing health care needs of our people. However, we salute those foreign nurses who continue render excellent, professional service to our people.

On behalf of the federal government, I congratulate all of our nurses on Nurses’ Day 2018. 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 2018! May God continue to bless the people of St. Kitts and Nevis with good health, and wellness of mind, body and spirit.

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