NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Nurses Union (BUT) President Amancha Williams said yesterday that they welcome assistance from 50 Cuban nurses as more than 116 nurses remain out of the system due to exposure to COVID-19.
The foreign healthcare workers were welcomed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Cuban Ambassador upon their arrival into the country as cases continue to see a spike in the fourth wave.
Speaking to Eyewitness News, Williams said the nurses will provide much-needed help during the surge, which has compounded the nursing shortage seen throughout and before the pandemic.
“We don’t have any issues of them coming in to assist us. We need all that help we can get,” said.
“We have 116 nurses exposed to COVID at various institutions.
“…We need all the assistance because most nurses are burnt out working overtime to compensate for the shortage.
“ Many wards you just have only a staff nurse and a PCA and TCN working to 18 patients, which is overwhelming. Persons are also on vacation and have emergencies. This poses a problem to us because we have a shortage.”
Health officials confirmed 346 new cases of COVID-19 in the country on Thursday, taking the number of cases in the country to 30,254 with 6,414 still active.
Of the new cases, 291 were on New Providence, 26 on Grand Bahama, eight on Abaco, six on Eleuthera, eight on the Berry Island, four on Exuma, and three on Long Island.
There are currently 123 positive cases in the hospital, of which 116 are moderately ill and seven are in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Willians noted yesterday that her team looks forward to working with the 50 healthcare professionals but expressed a slight concern for any possible language dialect barrier or training disparity.
She noted that even though they will be coming in as professionals, those nurses will still have to be trained underneath Bahamian healthcare workers to be shown the lay of the land to ensure their skills and practices are up to standard.
“We are grateful for the persons coming to assist but then we as RNs here still have to manage these persons,” Williams said
She added that more must be done in order to appreciate and respect Bahamian nurses who are being heavily scouted by foreign countries.
“We’re losing nurses every day. That’s a global situation but we are losing our Bahamian nurses every day.”