Nurses’ Week 2006 Highlights Safe Staffing Levels

Proper nurse-patient ratio will be the focus of this year’s Nurses’ Week, celebrated May 7-13. The theme, “Safe Staffing Saves Lives*,” brings attention to the need for adequate nurse staffing levels in the face of worldwide shortages in the nursing profession.

Venetta Symonds, acting CEO for Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB), points out that proper levels of staff nursing are essential to health outcomes at our hospitals. “Globally, improved nurse staffing is associated with lower inpatient mortality rates and shorter hospital stays – saving both lives and money. BHB has made adequate nursing staff levels a priority. Nurses are vital to quality patient care and we are committed to recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of nursing professionals,” she said.

With a workforce of over 800, nurses comprise the largest group of healthcare professionals in Bermuda. Nurses work in a variety of areas at both hospitals, including administration, asthma care, diabetes, educational services, hyperbaric and wound management, infection control, intensive care, information systems, maternity, mental health, oncology, paediatrics, quality and risk, rehabilitation services and substance abuse.

The Bermuda Nurses Association (BNA) is sponsoring a series of events next week, beginning with a church service and luncheon on May 7, when Nurse of the Year will be announced. Additional activities planned for the week include a noonday rally at City Hall on May 8 at 12:30pm, a lecture on “Safe Staffing” at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) on May 10 and a tour of Westgate Correctional Facility on May 13. Display boards in the lobby at KEMH will focus on the range of career options in nursing, as well as the many services they provide.

Lisa Symonds, President of BNA is pleased to see attention focused on the important contribution nurses make at the hospitals and in the community. “Nurses’ Week highlights the valuable work we do,” she said. “Raising the issue of adequate staffing levels is critical at this point. Nurses play such a crucial role in health services. Proper nurse-patient ratios translate to quality patient care.”

BHB is actively recruiting nurses. Every year, the hospitals invest $250,000 in Bermudian students who pursue education and training in healthcare fields. Bermudians training to become nurses may now complete their first two years of education at the Bermuda College and then transfer to Hampton University. Interested applicants can obtain more information online at www.bermudahosptials.bm.

* Nurses’ Week theme established by the International Council of Nurses.

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