Dr Sands hopes to reduce nurses waiting time for placements

By LEANDRA ROLLE

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands hopes he can reduce the waiting time for getting nurses placed through the health care system "to as little as two months."

Last month, Dr Sands told reporters that post-Hurricane Dorian, some 70 registered nurses were waiting to fill positions throughout the public health sector.

Speaking outside of Cabinet yesterday, he said it's unfair for nurses to have to wait so long considering the many responsibilities they have.

"This issue takes far too long. What happens is you have a series of steps from the time that nurses complete their training.

"They then take an examination that's graded. They then have that information go to UB (University of the Bahamas). They then determine whether they have graduated," he said.

"They then have them go to the Nursing Council. The Nursing Council will then have them take another exam to be licensed and registered as a nurse.

"That then goes to the Ministry of Health who then sends it on to the Public Service Commission."

The problem with this process, according to Dr Sands, is that these steps occur consecutively, which ultimately prolongs the waiting period for the placement of nurses.

"What they ought to do perhaps is to modify the process, so it happens concurrently.

"So, if one process takes a month and another one takes six weeks and so forth, you could imagine that these individuals are waiting and waiting and waiting even as they are being asked to work full time," he said.

He continued: "We think this is unacceptable and even though it is heavy lifting, we're going to get it done so that we can compress this process, I hope to as little as two months from the time they complete their nursing training until the time they get their letters of appointment."