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Nurses - It’S Not About The Money

Bahamas Nurses Union President Amancha Williams. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

Bahamas Nurses Union President Amancha Williams. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Nurses Union President Amancha Williams stressed yesterday that her members’ fight against a new shift system was rooted in the protection of their livelihood as scores of nurses marched on the Ministry of Health.

The demonstration began at the General Post Office building shortly after 9.30am yesterday and followed a Tuesday meeting with PHA officials, which Mrs Williams described as positive.

“We all decided to come together and just show the country that we have the best interest,” Ms Williams told ZNS, “the nurses, we have the best interest of the country.

“It’s not about money, the shift change that we want to change or are non compliant to is not conducive for the nurse. We have reviewed the shift change and the shift change is not just about $1.75.”

Under the new shift, nursers working between 6pm and 6am will receive a $1.75 per hour premium in addition to their standard hourly pay.

Mrs Williams continued: “It’s more than that, it’s our livelihood being taken away from us. It is the security of our families being taken away from us. In order for us to function as a nurse, we need time for the mind to become rejuvenated.

“We need this body to be relaxed so we must follow the rules and regulations of taking care of a patient and administering drugs. We must be, first, alert.”

She added: “It’s also about living up to what the law says and we need to stop playing games with the people.”

The PHA announced last week that the four days on/four days off shift will change to a five days on/two days off shift in over a month. The two sides dispute what impact the change will have on the well-being of nurses; and also its legality given that a 2014 agreement on the shift change between the BNU and PHA was not adopted in its 2015 industrial agreement.

While it’s not clear what impact 12-hour shifts have on nurses’ health, one study by academics at the University of Southampton concluded that such shifts “may lead to reduced nurses’ well-being and healthcare systems’ loss of productivity.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands maintained he would not interfere with ongoing negotiations so long as they were conducted fairly and in good faith.

Dr Sands told reporters yesterday he had “no beef” with public nurses, noting his ministerial responsibility over both the BNU and the PHA.

He suggested the outspoken nature of both doctors and nurses in recent weeks could be linked to perceived freedom from victimisation.

“I have to encourage dialogue,” Dr Sands said, “and certainly wherever there’s foul, as a referee of sorts, I would have to interfere. But failing that this will have to play out. So do not expect for the minister to interpose himself into these negotiations, discussions, as long as they are proceeding in good faith.

“Maybe this is a period where people feel released in order for them to speak their mind,” he continued, speaking about recent protests from those in the public health system, “where they’re not concerned about victimisation and so they feel this is a reasonable opportunity because we will listen.

“The beauty of democracy is sometimes it gets loud, sometimes it gets a little bit contentious but bear in mind people can feel that there is not going to be a situation where their attempt to advocate for their own rights would be met with anything other than consideration and hopefully some positive change.”

He added: “How can we complain when they are staying within the confines of the rules? They are demonstrating their discontent and then they go back to work and take care of patients.”

The new shift for nurses is set to take effect next month.

Comments

DDK 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Glad the General Post Office is good for something!

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licks2 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Lady. . .gee up. . .you get get the nod in the next PLP election group. . .you are not making the case. . .you think it is because you DON'T HAVE A PRIMA FASIE CASE!!

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Sooooooooo, nurses in The Bahamas work in a war zone????? (maybe A&E)

Why do they need four freaking days off in a row??????? .......... What about Police and teachers and doctors????? ........ Soon everyone will want to work 4 days a week and have four days off ............ SMT

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It's always about the money. They said it themselves connecting 1.75 extra per hour to slave labour

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Jess 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Has anyone had a relative or friend as a patient at PMH? I’ve had several as patients. Very few nurses deliver care with empathy and passion, yet so many ongoing pleas for more from the government. For hours, we asked for help to turn my grandmother. We needed help because she had a broken hip and had to be turned using proper alignment. So often the reply “We are short staffed, someone will be there”, yet three of them sitting at the nurses’ station. One of them commented, “This my second shift, I’m not killing myself”. Bold and upsetting, but my relative is at her mercy, so silence on my part. I’m thinking, why are you at work? Go home! Don’t stay to collect money not labored for. The conversation then rolled into whtether or not overtime would be paid out that month. After an hour plus, the Filipino nurse came over removed her restraints and we turned her. Sadly the Filipino nurse’s presence and concern was more than that of the native nurses. Our family then rotated visitation. We needed to ensure she was not laying in the same position, and her clothing and linen were dry, & that she was fed on time. The care on the public wards at PMH is dismal, yet for the poor there’s no other choice.

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DDK 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Truly sad! What a TERRIBLE testimony to the nursing profession. In this case, they ARE, after all, civil servants and just cannot help themselves. This awful attitude is so ingrained it will take an act of God to erase it.

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

"Some" of them are absolutely horrible. They will sit there cackling and laughing while your loved one is writhing in pain. Just supposing that they're not the ones who can assist your relative, they should know something about conducting themselves with some sort of decorum.

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Jess 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Has anyone had a relative or friend as a patient at PMH? Very few nurses deliver care with empathy and passion, yet so many ongoing pleas for more from the government. For hours we asked for help to turn my grandmother. We needed help because she had a broken hip and had to be turned using proper alignment. So often the reply “We are short staffed, someone will be there”, yet three of them sitting at the nurses’ station. One of them commented, “This my second shift, I’m not killing myself”. Then why are you at work? Go home! Don’t stay to collect money not labored for. The conversation then rolled into whtether or not overtime would be paid out that month. After an hour plus, the Filipino nurse came over removed her restraints and we turned her. Sadly the Filipino nurse’s presence and concern was more than that of the native nurses. Our family then rotated visitation. We needed to ensure she was not laying in the same position, and her clothing and linen were dry, & that she was fed on time. PMH is dismal, yet for the poor there’s no other choice.

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BMW 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Its always about the money. Sometimes I as a buisness man only get one day for my mind to rejuvinate. F.F.S. you all need to get a life.

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TigerB 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The our days off is for working the already worked 40 hour work-week. My wife is a nurse, they work 10:30 pm to 8:30 am, well that's the schedule, but she always get home after 10am in the morning. They work 4 X 10 hours for four days and they be off while the next night person do the same thing, but even though they work a bunch of extra hours without pay they were happy with the night arrangement... well until now

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I still don't get this day/night preference shit ........... Anyone asks police officers if they prefer to be day or night officers?????? ............... This is BS.

What is so special about working day or night for a nurse?????????

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DDK 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Less work (more money) on the night shift as a rule, A & E excepted....

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Do you think a PMH nurse who works a night shift routine sits at home and sleeps for 4 days on her time off???????

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It takes most Bahamians 1-1.5 hours to travel to and from work, so that's not unusual. Im sure your wife is one of the good ones, I am also sure SHE can tell you stories of others who are abusing the system. When I heard the doctors making noise on a similar issue, I dismissed them, those guys have been running the two job scam for over twenty years. Dr Sands should be aware of all the internal games since he had to work around them.

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