Jamaican Nurses in UK Urged to Strive for Positions of Influence


Jamaican nurses in the United Kingdom (UK) have been urged to strive for positions of influence to help to shape the decision-making process.
Speaking last week at the annual general meeting of the Nurses Association of Jamaica (UK), High Commissioner Gail Mathurin told the nurses not to under-estimate the lobbying power they possessed. She said this power could influence changes that could benefit health care in the UK and also in Jamaica.
“I am pleased that one of the mandates of the Nurses Association of Jamaica (UK) is the personal and professional development of Jamaican and other Caribbean nurses. It is important that the skills of our nurses are at the level that will move more of them into management and areas of influence to shape the decision-making process. In addition, your association must not underestimate the lobbying power that you possess to influence changes that can benefit health care, not just in the UK, but also in Jamaica,” she said.
High Commissioner Mathurin said while the recruitment of nurses could be a rewarding and challenging experience, there could also be an adverse impact on a country’s health system.
“The recruitment of nurses offers employment overseas in sometimes new and hi-tech environment. The skills gained along the way contribute to the level of expertise in their homeland, and on the economic side, there is a flow of remittances to families and friends. However, this recruitment can have an adverse impact on a country’s health system. In addition, there is real concern about the treatment of and the terms and conditions of nurses recruited from overseas,” she noted.
The High Commissioner pointed out that this issue was being taken seriously by the Government of Jamaica. “Jamaica and other developing countries have been advocating for a commitment from the recruiting countries to help improve and expand the training capacity of source countries. This will both increase the supply of skilled labour to the developed world and will ease the shortages experienced by countries like Jamaica, when our nurses, teachers and other highly trained professionals are recruited overseas,” she said.
High Commissioner Mathurin also commended the Nurses Association of Jamaica (UK) for 26 years of devoted and loyal service to health care and community development in both the United Kingdom and Jamaica.
“Jamaican nurses, since the days of Mary Seacole, have answered the call to provide world class nursing care, not just in our homeland, Jamaica, but also right across the world. Jamaican nurses continue to play a critical role in the national health system here. This is why I was particularly pleased this week, to have officially unveiled the plaque naming the boardroom at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine for Mary Seacole. I believe this tribute to a pioneering Jamaican nurse is also a tribute to all Jamaican nurses, especially those who left the security and comfort of home to work here,” she said.

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