Statement by Minister of Health and Wellness Ian Gooding-Edghill – Barbados Today

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Re-Introduction Of The Payment Of Stipends To Student Nurses:
Government has decided to re-introduce the payment of a stipend to Student Nurses after nearly eight years of its cessation. This move will benefit 273 student nurses to the tune of approximately $2 million per year.
This change in policy is expected to give added incentive to Barbadians to join the nursing profession and help to reduce the current nursing shortage. In addition, Government has set out clear criteria by which student nurses will qualify for the payment of the financial stipend.
The re-introduction of the stipend will make it possible for students not having to work and study at the same time, while providing some compensation to students for the services provided to health care facilities as a component of their clinical training.
The stipend will only be provided for the duration of the four-year programme. The nursing profession in Barbados continues to face shortages across all Government institutions. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) has recruited 95 nurses from Ghana to assist with the shortage. In addition, 111 Cuban nurses were recruited to assist the Government in its COVID-19 response. Meanwhile, a delegation from the QEH and the Ministry of Health is currently in Ghana, recruiting additional nurses.
First-year nursing students will be paid a stipend of $458.89 per month; second-year $578.53; third-year $698.16 and fourth-year $798.16. The students will be subject to a two-year Government performance bond after completion of their four-year nursing degree.
Currently, there are 69 first-year, 59 second-year, 87 third-year and 89 fourth-year students – a total of 304. However, I wish to make it clear that approximately 31 Student Nurses presently employed in the public sector, will not qualify for a stipend because they’re already employed.
Nursing students will be required to maintain passing grades for all courses, according to the criteria set by the Barbados Community College. Attendance in classroom and clinical areas, in addition to other requirements set by the ministry, will be communicated to all nursing students. Nursing students, while engaged in clinical training, under appropriate supervision, are expected to administer services in keeping with the level of expertise which they have retained at a particular time.
As part of their training, students provide services to polyclinics, medical, surgical, obstetrics and paediatric wards at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The turnover in nursing is also due to migration and an ageing nurse workforce.
I would like to make a special appeal to young persons to consider nursing as a noble career. The Barbados Community College offers a four-year nursing degree programme. With this incentive of a stipend, the financial pressure on parents and families would be reduced while increasing the number of nurses which would allow for the expansion of new services in health care.
Health care is fast becoming a major sector for employment not only for nurses, but Biomedical Technicians and Engineers, Radiographers, Radio Therapists, Ultrasound Technicians and other specialist auxiliary areas with millions being invested in private health care in Barbados.
The time for persons to commence training is now to take advantage of those expanding health care employment opportunities that will arise when the health care investment projects materialise.
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