Our Readers' Opinions
May 13, 2011
‘Closing the gap: Increasing access and equity’


by Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment,Cecil McKie

The Nurses of St. Vincent and the Grenadines through their National Association join the International Council of Nurses in celebrating Nurses week.{{more}} The theme for International Nurses Day which is celebrated May 2011 globally is “Closing the Gap: Increasing access and equity”.

Access to health services contributes to longevity and to the quality of life an individual experiences. In certain circumstances, particularly in rural communities, populations rely heavily on nursing services to fulfill their health care needs. “As the principal and, in some cases, the only group of health professionals providing primary health care in many of the most challenging settings, nurses are essential to improving equity and access to health care, and adding quality to the outcome of care”. In essence, it has been proven that nurses are pivotal to the delivery of quality health care; survival rate of clients in some situations depends entirely on their interventions.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) affirms that “nurses have an important role in achieving health equity and developing a clear understanding of how the health sector can act to reduce health inequities”. The purpose of this special week is to increase awareness among the general public and among other professions of the value of nursing by offering education about the vital roles nurses play in meeting the health care needs of the Vincentian people and all who seek their assistance for health promotion and improvement.

Often described as art and a science, nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interest, strengths and passions. The profession offers many opportunities for specialization and career advancement. Nurses work in emergency departments, schools, health centres, mental and geriatric hospitals. They have many roles – from Staff Nurse to educator to nurse practitioner and nurse researchers and scientists – and serve in these capacities with passion and with a strong commitment to patient safety.

From bedside nursing in hospitals and long term geriatric and mental health care facilities, the depth and breadth of the nursing profession is meeting the expanding health care needs of the Vincentian society.

Nurses week 2011 provides a time to celebrate, recognize and thank the nurses who practice throughout the state. The clinical excellence and dedication exhibited by our nurses on a daily basis is definitely worthy of recognition. One of the most important things in life that we can do to enrich the lives of others is to simply say “Thank You”!

I sincerely thank all our nurses for everything they do each day to provide quality and compassionate care to those they serve, so that the health care gap can become narrowed and access and equity become commonplace.

It is with great pleasure I declare Nurses Week 2011 open and ask you the public to join me in recognizing these wonderful nurses of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

I thank you!