That’s less than 28 percent!
 
Against the backdrop of a global shortage of nurses, that’s just one of the facts being highlighted this week in the lead up to International Nurses Day, celebrated annually on May 12.
 
And this entire week is set aside to honour the noble profession.
 
According to Health Minister Kim Wilson: “That means that at a time when qualified professionals are in high demand globally, we have been lucky to have imported some 72 percent – nearly 600 – of our nurses from other countries.
 
“That points to a great potential of employment opportunities for Bermudians that has not been actualized.
 
“Out of the 84 nurses who came on the register in 2017, just 14 were Bermudian – 10 who trained at the Bermuda College and four who trained overseas.
 
“We need more Bermudians to see nursing as a viable career option. I am willing to do all I can to support you in promoting nursing to our youth.”
 
On Sunday, May 6 the Minister celebrated Bermuda’s nurses during the Bermuda Nurses Association Annual Brunch at the Beau Rivage restaurant in Paget at the start of National Nurses Week.
 
The luncheon was held to commemorate the Nurse of the Year – Geneive Williams-Hart, who has worked in paediatrics for nearly three decades.
 
Recognised for her dedication, the former school nurse said: “It’s overwhelming; I didn’t expect it.
 
The Southampton resident, originally from Jamaica added: “I am honoured to be elected by my colleagues. I was surprised — they got me good.”
 
International Nurses Day is annually celebrated May 12 and this entire week is set aside to honour the noble profession.
 
While noting that her “personal goal of “affordable and accessible healthcare for all Bermuda residents”, and Government’s “vision to reform our health system” the Minister said: “Until we get there, we continue to rely on your noble profession, nursing, to carry us through some of our toughest times.”
 
“I know that your work has touched the lives of so many Bermudians.
 
“Nursing is not always easy; often times it means working long, unsociable hours and unquestionably requires a very special kind of individual – a selfless individual who gains fulfilment and joy from helping others.
 
“I’m sure your efforts may sometimes feel as though they go unnoticed, but I can’t count the number of times I have heard someone tell me about a particular nurse who helped them through a tough time – whether that be the loss of a family member, a difficult birth, or an unexpected medical diagnosis.
“And there is also happiness… newborns or a miraculous recovery or at witnessing first steps after many days of being bedridden. 
 
“I understand there is also great camaraderie with your fellow nurses and other professional and support staff that are the hallmarks of what makes nursing a very rewarding career choice,” she added.
 
“What you do each day for our community matters beyond measure.”
 
She also noted: “Against the backdrop of a global shortage of nurses, as our population ages and chronic non-communicable diseases continue to increase, we will need even more of you.
 
“Your profession is such an important one in any community and, increasingly, you are being asked to take on more complex job functions.
 
“Around the world, in addition to providing patient care, many nurses are now involved in administrative and managerial functions within hospitals and healthcare facilities.
 
“But the global shortage of nurses means a decrease of available nurses where critical care is provided. This puts a strain on many registered nurses already in the workforce.
 
“While this island has been blessed with a large number of caring professionals who have come from around the world to support us, we haven’t yet succeeded in promoting this as a premier career choice for Bermudians.
 
“I would love to see more Bermudian nurses and my Ministry offers the Dr Barbara Ball Scholarship to support our young people in this and other health professions vital to public health.
 
“Out of the list of 824 nurses registered with the Bermuda Nursing Council, just 229 are Bermudian – less than 28 percent.
 
“That means that at a time when qualified professionals are in high demand globally, we have been lucky to have imported some 72 percent – nearly 600 – of our nurses from other countries.
 
“That points to a great potential of employment opportunities for Bermudians that has not been actualized.
 
“Out of the 84 nurses who came on the register in 2017, just 14 were Bermudian – 10 who trained at the Bermuda College and four who trained overseas. We need more Bermudians to see nursing as a viable career option. I am willing to do all I can to support you in promoting nursing to our youth.”
 
The Minister concluded with “congratulations to the Bermuda Nurses Association for all you have achieved”.
 
“Last year you celebrated your 50th anniversary, and I congratulate you on that important milestone.
 
“I am delighted to help you celebrate the high quality of care delivered by the nurses of Bermuda as we approach Saturday May 12, the International Nurses Day, during the month globally recognized as Nurses Month.
 
“Thanks to each and every one of you as you strive to enhance the nursing profession and improve the lives of everyone you touch.  We are all grateful for all that you do.”
 
  • Photos Courtesy of DCI: Include the Nurse of the Year, Genieve Williams-Hart, with her award and group photo of the Minister with the Bermuda Nurses Association Executive Committee. Left to Right Back Row 2nd VP, Nurse Sherri Woolridge,Corresponding Secretary, Nurse Karen Grant- White, Nurse Janice Lewis, Nurse Lovette Lovell, Nurse Natasha Simmons, Nurse Whitney Matthew, Nurse Carys Caisey Outgoing NOTY Treasurer, Nurse Lacie Williams-Hill, Nurse Vinisha Saltus
  • Left to Right Front Row: Recording Secretary, Nurse Heloisa Ambrosio, President, Nurse Beverley Howell, MOH 1st VP, Nurse Lynn Jackson MAL, Nurse Genieve Williams-Hart NOTY 2018