Couva Hospital nurse: ‘We are backbone of Trinidad and Tobago healthcare system’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Couva Hospital

Intensive care unit (ICU) nurse Josette Smith-Bethel of the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility has said nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system in Trinidad and Tobago.

Smith-Bethel was speaking during the Health Ministry’s virtual media conference on Wednesday.

International Nurses Day is celebrated on May 12 and commemorates the birth of Florence Nightingale, born in 1820, and considered the pioneer of modern nursing, she said.

Nightingale, known as “The Ldy with the Lamp,” was a British nurse and statistician who worked during the Crimean War. She established St Thomas’s Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in 1860.

“As one of the most trusted and respected health professions, nursing has an essential role in addressing the multiple health challenges faced globally. We are the engine room of the healthcare system and are required to respond to the needs of individuals, communities and the world,” said Smith-Bethel.

She said International Nurses Day marks the invaluable contributions of nurses to the health of societies and was first recognised in 1965.

“The covid19 pandemic has shown we need real investment in order to successfully secure global health. Staff continue to go above and beyond to deliver highly skilled critical care to patients every day.”

She said 2020 was declared the Year of the Nurse.

“When the pandemic hit, we answered the clarinet call.”

Smith-Bethal said nurses were grateful to the ministry for investing in training programmes for nurses, including ICU courses in which nurses were trained to use ICU equipment.

She said psychological support was also available and continues to be available for nurses to aid in their work-life balance.

“The NCRHA continues to provide mental health support. We have a psychologist and mental health nurses who check in regularly with us. In terms of how many nurses (have accessed support), I can safely say at Couva Health facility, the majority, if not all, of us sought the services available to us.

“I hope other health authorities are doing the same for their nurses.”