May 8, 2009
Message by: Raphael. K. John, President St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses Association.


International Nurses Day: May 12th, 2009.

Theme: Delivering Quality, Serving Communities: Nurses Leading in Care Innovations.

In the bowels of a new dispensation of global economic insecurity, the health care system is positioned at a critical juncture, sandwiched between the crust of operational demise and the medullary confines of radical advancement. Relatively, for there to be any real survival in this era of uncertainty, things cannot persist as before. The nursing profession, as a principal unit of the health system, must emerge from this socio economic dungeon, and pave the path for the way forward.{{more}}

As we acknowledge International Nurses Day 2009, there must be an ever-persistent reminder of the true meaning of such a celebration. Indeed, we are acknowledging the undying dedication of the nursing pioneer: Florence Nightingale, who stood out in a dark era and brought light to the halls of healthcare. In our own dispensation, as we are increasingly faced with the many global challenges, the Nightingale’s pretext should yet be cultivated as the theme to guide nursing, and the health system as a whole, into safety.

Serving Communities in a Quality Manner

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) 2009 theme for International Nurses’ Day: Delivering Quality, Serving Communities: Nurses Leading in Care Innovations is a timely reminder of the important role of nurses within our society. We must ever understand the work that nurses do is ever essential to the proper integrity of the health system, and that nursing services are quite unique: pivotal and totally irreplaceable. Furthermore, the profession has undergone much modification over the course of the last century, and the face of “mere caregivers” has been transformed into a more substantial occupation of science and skills.

Certainly, nursing care has encompassed the usual perception of “giving medication, performing dressings and obeying Doctor’s orders”. Contemporary Nurses are managers of patient care units, clinicians who provide comprehensive assessment of human basic needs, interpretation and analysis of varying cues and manifestations, as well as the administration of interventions at various competencies, all in the effort of promoting recovery and effective management of health care consumers. The functions of Nurses are also manifested in policy and program management, patient advocacy, research and education. This point is further qualified by the International Council of Nurses, who issued that nurses maintain links between individuals, families, communities and the rest of the health care system, working both autonomously and collaboratively to prevent disease and disability, and to promote, improve, maintain and restore health.

With the transformation of the face of nursing: the redefinition and the amplification in the scope of practice, as well as the reconstitution of the scientific bases of the profession, it has become quite important that nurses perform their activities utilising proper standards and adhering to strict policies of practice. This is augmented by the pressures from the ever-demanding patient system and the rising expectations of administration and the general system.

The call is for nurses in our diverse settings to continue the noble vocation of serving communities in a dignified and excellent manner. However, while delivering quality and serving communities, nurses are also called upon to be vigilant and sober minded, regarding the changing times in which we exist. There must be a concerted effort on our part, certainly, to explore and introduce methodologies so as to overcome the challenges in today’s world.

Overcoming Challenges.

As the principal unit of the health system, the nursing service occupies a vulnerable position, in the face of the ongoing global socio economic disorder. Foremost is the fact that Nurses are the unsung heroes of health care, working in tiring and unforgiving conditions with few rewards, and at times with no gratitude from the very consumers. Importantly as well is the reality that Nurses are forefront in the prevailing battle against HIV/AIDS and the many other lifestyle-mediated diseases; in the pressing health promotion drive; in the quest of satisfying the Millennium Development Goals; in the enhancement of the health field, through research and program development…

On the path forward, the profession of nursing will be faced by many existing and emerging problems, of both intrinsic and extrinsic nature. The state of the internal environment, with the painful issues of professionalism in clinical conduct, cultural interplay with the established standards of practice, forced change in the varying modules of clinical functions, technological advancement and the ongoing modification in management structures, are all key indicators of the arduous pathway ahead. Evidence is also realised through the diverse development of new health problems, modifying disease conditions, new and extensive attitudes toward health and health care, conflicting interest and policies governing the health service, as well as the continued fluctuations of some key elements of human enterprise: food, fuel and economy.

Consequently, there must be willingness for the nursing profession to arise from the bowels of seemingly nothingness, discard the heavy garment of silence, and with a resounding voice of hope, freedom, vision and unity, communicate the course forward, in the midst of the turmoil. While in-fact the problems are painful and testing, with sound leadership, togetherness and the sure objective of achievement, success is guaranteed. We can move forward. We will move forward. Certainly, we are going to extend our voices, pilot the course towards redemption, and of course, transform our society into a better place. All these we will achieve, as nurses, amidst the diverse and unending challenges.