Could COVID-19 trigger a bigger ‘Brain Drain’ of Caribbean nurses?

BY. R.D. Miller

After this unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis, what will be the job satisfaction rate of these facilities, healthcare systems, and nurses scorecards across the Caribbean?

Each year, hundreds of young people receive nurses’ degrees and critical medical assistant training throughout the Caribbean. Health services studies have shown that between 21 and 33 percent of medical systems have foreign-educated nurses, and that number has been increasing each year.

This new potential wave of “Brain Drain’ from COVID-19 is not for the lack of political gratitude, or photo-ops, or alliance with one party, but values medical experts contend critical in keeping them on the sand.

It is an intrinsic value that surrounding one’s opportunity to grow within an organization and the extrinsic value; pay and job security according to experts.

Furthermore, it seems a few of these islands could use an updated Occupation Health and Safety laws. The lack of such regulation I believe undermines protection; ethics in medicine and the integration between the relations with their patients.

The role of a nurse is equally important as a good doctor, a police officer, a teacher, or a safe community. Their presence often allows families to head back to work, or simply get time off from staying overnight on a hard chair waiting for an answer from a doctor.

These first responders are not there to evaluate politics, they are eyes and ears of doctors, the ventilator power source, from preparing a clean bed to escorting a sick person, even ones with mental health issues while providing comfort to families during times of need.

Well-sought-after working visas have become a one-way ticket out that can lead to permanent residency as demand will increase from countries like US, Canada, the UK; and other nations impacted by COVID-19. These nurses will be like stockpiles gowns, masks and ventilators should there be another pandemic.

But keeping nurses prepared is bigger than an economic package from trillions of stimulus dollars passed by government globally. It cannot replace these professionals and thousands of lives lost on the front line.

What COVID-19 discovered is simply how unprepared even wealthy industrialized nations with highest-ranked medical facilities were, and imagine economically struggling islands. The stories reverberate from the lack of supplies, long hours, burn out, the emotional labor watching people dying, and helpless when all their professional training taught them how to keep people alive.

Today, a new analysis of caregiving widely observed in hospitals; the difficulties balancing work and family responsibilities and emotions during this pandemic, now under the microscope.

Sure, government policies provided monetary relief, supplies, helped the financial markets, create economic activities from business closures, and unemployment, but experts noted that imported nurses have had a major impact on patients’ health, care systems economic and social development.

After COVID-19 began to take over the Caribbean shores; most leaders have held off the potential high tide through awareness, thus keeping their numbers low to-date, but that remains an open question.

Collaboration as experts noted, promised by the Caribbean Single Market and Economy remains emblematic as the global hunt for talent continues. It looks more of a competition for equipment; fighting like modern-day pirates as supply and demand became a political sport.

The Caribbean Cooperation in healthcare will be critical in ensuring that not only members of the CARICOM States have better medical attention, but ensuring especially poor areas receive adequate treatment.

Traveling to some of the islands and especially rural areas, reaching a medical facility can take a long period unlike better-managed islands with and more access, but pay at the time of service will become more difficult for poor patients.

Haiti

Protecting vital medical workers going forward will not be about competency, or how many press conferences held, but ensuring that nurses have a better standard to keep potential turnover low. There must be a relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment among these region health care systems..

Before COVID-19, concerns regarding upgraded technology, supplies and other equipment to save lives even newborn vibrates through these wards. Some facilities the claim jeopardize both nurses’ and patients’ lives by putting them at a higher risk of an infectious disease. Several health care professionals argued that COVID-19 gaps and facilities operating like an experimental drug with little accountability, while pundits’ praise leaders for their interest overlooking the systematic failures on many fronts to create changes.

Furthermore, individuals who speak out especially about COVID-19 experience under strenuous and poor employment conditions, are silenced and that diminishes accountability, more susceptible to errors, reduce best practices, and more risks. The next flight out by these nurses is not a result of leadership style, gender equality, abandonment of their nationality or the lack of education; several have enormous student loans, safety concerns from high crimes, reports of underpaid with a little support system to alleviate emotional scars..

One nurse talked about vacations are being missed from the fear of losing employment, and that could reset the current salary after years of solid service. Her plans are an economic opportunity for a better work-life balance, (spouses, parents, children) hoping prepared system and organizational management as her role remains the same.

Although global movements may be restricted, a country like Cuban has supplied doctors and nurses with many other diseases and pandemic areas. Regardless of their political system or who received payment for their services. Simply put, wherever they land, lives are being saved, as caregivers are becoming of great importance globally. Over the next decades, the aging population will increase both hospitals and home-based care, according to healthcare professionals and scholars, and nurses will become more critical to meet the demands.

Certainly, these nations will have to plug these gaps, and their medical system upward-mobility will diminish with migrated talents. Studies have shown that some nurses make good salaries, but this profession should command excellent salaries, such as one in math, finance, science, or a career in petroleum, according to business reports.

Developing countries and some dominant Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana, Belize, and other Latin Caribbean nations, where prolonged economic symptoms have crippled major public medical facilities for decades have much to lose.

Although there are excellent doctors in the region in private facilities, there were reports that several practices closed because they too lack the proper resource, collaboration to conduct tests locally, and further educate their patients.

Numerous nurses will remain along these warm and beautiful shores avoiding brutal winters, but the region must also develop incentives for others to come back who have left to study medicine in countries like Germany, Cuba, the US, and other places.

There are reports of few modernization throughout the region, but cannot have trust in the system if some leaders seem to have a “pre-existing condition” that is a defensive and basic question asked about numbers of people tested for COVID-19 muted, but stimulus check being handed out are published, while dissenting views seen as antagonistic.

Caregivers’ experience imported or local should not be politized or exploited. They are beyond a quick stop by a local shop, pave a road a week before an election; hand out a few dollars, then sell a false sense of community only to be missing until the next election cycle must stop.

As some of these Caribbean nurses evaluate their next passage, you may see one on a bus or subway heading to the next shift; as the economic strength of a nation is dependent on how healthy that society is.

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