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Jan 10, 2018

What is the Future of Nursing in Belize?

About one hundred and fifty nurses are discussing the future of the nursing profession at the Radisson in Belize City. And even as they move forward, they are looking at the challenges and hurdles they face as they provide this critical service to the population. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

“Shaping the Vision: the Future of Nursing in Belize” was the chosen theme for the 2018 National Nursing Conference which started today and will continue for the next two days in Belize City. The meeting brings together the medical professionals from the public and private sectors as well as policymakers to discuss challenges facing nurses and midwives while understanding the global and local health needs for the development of healthcare. Minister of Health, Pablo Marin says it’s the first of its kind in the region.


Pablo Marin

Pablo Marin, Minister of Health

“This gathering of nurses to discuss relevant issues affecting health in general, but nursing in particular, is the first of its kind in this region and Belize stands ready to also lead in this aspect. Nursing has always been one of the fundamental pillars of our health system and we acknowledge the vital role of nurses. It is therefore extremely relevant that in this day and age when health system seems to flatter, when there seems to be a distance between healthcare and the people that we need to serve that a conference such as this focuses attention on improvement of nurses’ leadership and policy development on the part of universal coverage.”


Augustina Elijio, Deputy Director of Health Services

“It’s a move that must happen. We are in a global village; as it relates to health, we need to think global, but yet act local. Whatever is happening globally affects Belize. I must also indicate that the healthcare system is so dynamic, so evolving that it cannot be business as usual for nurses. We must step up to the plate, we must be cognizant of what are the changes and what are the changing roles that nurses must be prepared for.”


Augustina Elijio

Deputy Director of Health Services with responsibility for Nursing, Augustina Elijio says that there are ever-changing challenges including educational investment in nurses and the lack of jobs. There is also need to develop nursing practices and training, which is being undertaken by the Ministries of Health and Education.


Augustina Elijio

“Like globally, Belize has shortage of nurses so we must consider our push and pull factors and strategies must be developed so that we can attract and retain nurses to this country. We also have challenges in leadership. Our nursing population prefers persons in leadership are more the older nurses—nurses who would have retired but we need to retain them. And we also have a very young population of nurses who are inexperienced, are not ready to hold the mantle and lead nurses.”


The workshop is interactive and will include brief presentations, workgroups and feedback on the health and social sector agenda. Senior Policy Service Professor from Washington and Consultant, Doctor Diana Mason, is facilitating the workshop along with Doctor Jane Savage. The goal is to develop a framework to guide the future of nursing in Belize.


Diana Mason

Dr. Diana Mason, Consultant

“I don’t think most people realize how important nurses are to the health of a nation; they are crucial. If you don’t have enough nurses who are well-prepared, people die; people do not get their health promoted. So we are here to talk about how to strengthen that nursing profession, have nurses be equal partners at decision-making tables about healthcare in communities and at the ministry level, at the national level as well.  You need to have enough nurses at the bedside, but you need an environment that is going to support them—going to support nurses who are predominantly women in this country as well; although we welcome men in this profession—but support them in taking a break to have families, to support them in the childcare that they may need to be at the bedside or be in the community as a public health nurse.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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