Cayman faces nursing shortage

There is a shortage of nurses in the Cayman Islands, and that could pose a problem in a time of crisis.

That was the main messaged officials delivered at Thursday’s opening of the inaugural Cayman Islands Nursing Conference. The conference continues today at the Marriott Hotel.

‘We need to maintain high-skilled nurses for occasional times of crisis. At the moment we have no bank of nurses to draw on,’ said Hazel Brown, Chief Nursing Officer of the Cayman Islands, in her welcome address.

There is especially a need for nurses at this time as the baby boomers retire, she added.

Mrs. Brown likened the shortage of nurses to the shortage of troops that the war on terror is currently experiencing. ‘Our war on terror – the war on disease – is our core challenge and we need higher troop levels,’ she said.

Health Minister Anthony Eden said another problem is that Cayman is unable to train nurses on-island, and must rely greatly on overseas-trained nurses.

‘It is important that Cayman stays current…in healthcare developments.’

The issue, however, is being addressed through such methods as the conference, he said, adding that the quality of the islands’ nurses has never been called into question.

‘The nurses of Cayman deliver top-notch service on every shift, every day,’ said the Minister. ‘I thank you and the people thank you, throughout the length and breadth of the Cayman Islands.’

The conference’s objectives include encouraging collaboration and learning, facilitating the sharing of innovative practices in nursing education and clinical practice and to reaffirm the value and contribution of nursing to health care.

Mr. Eden said was apparent there was a need for the conference, he said. ‘I have already told the Chief Nursing Officer that this conference should become an annual event.’

The conference was well-attended and featured a variety of educational opportunities for current nurses.

Seminars throughout Thursday and Friday on a range of topics from hurricane preparedness to new advances and treatment in HIV/AIDS provided a broad spectrum of topics for the islands’ nurses to become more informed about the latest cutting-edge developments.