“Regressive” is how former Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) President Cleola Hamilton described the newly proposed shift system for nurses expected to take effect on December 10, 2018.
The former unionist and member of parliament said she is prepared to go on the front-line with nurses against this new policy.
One day after nurses vacated their post at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) in protest against the shift system that officials from the Public Hospital’s Authority (PHA) said nurses had agreed on, Hamilton said it is the same system that nurses vehemently opposed almost 10 years ago.
“It’s disappointing that they are still at this point,” Hamilton said.
“Nine years ago we rejected and fought against the shift system because it is regressive.”
Under the new shift a standardized eight-hour daily shift and a 40-hour work week will be introduced.
PHA officials argued that the new system will also eliminate the inequity caused by the present four nights on and four nights off shift system, which results in night duty nurses working only 157 days per year on average compared to 234 days on average for all other nurses.
“If the nurses are off after five days they are not resting, they would make mistakes because of all of the overcrowding and issues at the hospital we don’t need that to happen and nurses do not need to work under those conditions,” Hamilton stressed.
The former union leader who also served as Parliamentary Secretary in The Ministry of Immigration and Foreign Affairs under the Christie-led Administration recalled that the shift was changed for nurses in the late 1980’s.
“Nurses are now preparing to resign because of what is being introduced,” Hamilton said.
“Which man or son would want their mother or wife to come home at 2:00 a.m.?” Hamilton asked. “One thing that should be clear, the union contracts states that if the terms and conditions of employment are to be changed it should be changed for something better .”