Our country needs more nurses

As reported on The Malta Independent, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne highlighted the need for more  nurses given the expanding healthcare services offered in Malta.

Fearne said that there are still 300 nurses needed in Malta and Gozo, due to the expanding services, new clinics opening, and the increased workload to reduce waiting lists. He said that most students who graduate in nursing have a guaranteed job because of the nursing shortage. Chris Fearne said this during a visit to MCAST’s Nursing Students.

It’s great to see that currently there are 33 nursing students in the new Northumbria University BA in Nursing Studies course which launched this year. Hopefully in the next few years we would be seeing a surge in these courses in order to tackle this ever growing problem.

I have quite a few friends of mine that are nurses and apart from that, during house visits I constantly meet nurses and they all speak on the issue. They are overworked and they require more nurses in order to do their job better.

I believe that we should all be grateful to these amazing individuals that work as nurses. Their job, together with everyone else that works in health care, is vital for the well being of our society and there’s no words to describe how thankful we should be.

In regards to tackle the ever growing issue of lack of nurses I believe that as a country we can do more. First of all we can do more to incentivise nurses to stay in their profession. I happen to know of a few cases where nurses decided to change profession because it either didn’t pay them enough or else because they were too stressed out with the hours they were putting in, or else a mixture of both. I spoke to a few nurses and collectively these ideas were suggested;

a) Increase wages – Might sound easier said than done, however in a booming economy the country needs to explore this venue and ensure that our nurses are compensated fairly for their work. This an in result help convincing some nurses to remain in the profession.

b) Incentives better stipend for nurses – Throwing money at a problem might not be the right way, but same as above, financially incentivising someone to take up the course can be a positive solution and might see more nurses graduating.

c) Introduction of flexi-hours – Where possible, nurses should be allowed to be more flexible in their working hours. This will result in having a better work/life balance because even though they work very long hours, they still would have enough time to do their errands since they will be allowed to work flexi-hours. This obviously needs to be rostered because the minimum number of nurses needs to be on duty in order not to end up with a situation where there are no nurses on duty. With that in mind, having a few days a week where you can work your favoured hours is definitely a plus!

d) It was suggested that a 25-year service career, similar to that of the police force, might be introduced. This can be another incentive that will incentivise more students to take up the nursing course. Apart form that it will also ensure that qualified nurses stay in their profession. Definitely and idea to be discussed!

e) Most importantly is respect! Nurses needs to be shown more respect form whoever is on top. I believe that they need to be respected as professionals and their job needs to be valued more. One incentive which might work is to speak to nurses every few months and understand where they want to take their career. This way nurses will get to move to other wards more often and ultimately having a more motivated work force.

These are just a few ideas, I’m sure that if more nurses are spoken to many more ideas will be suggested. One thing is for certain. Nurses are invaluable to our society and we need them to be happy and motivated. We can’t take them for granted because if we do so; one day we will look for one and realise that there aren’t any more nurses whatsoever.