Tonight there are growing concerns among those in the Nurses Association of Belize as the reports are that nurses are not adequately informed of what their emergency plan is at their respective stations. Darrell Spencer, the president of the Nurses Association of Belize, spoke with Love News this morning about some of those hardships. According to him, there is a consensus among healthcare providers across the country that they are ill-equipped and that necessary information is being held back from them.
Darrell Spencer, President, Nurses Association of Belize: “So last week the executive of the association got up and we went to each district and some of the private institutions and most of the public institutions to get a consensus, get a feedback from the nurses, from the healthcare workers because we didn’t only concentrate on members we did actually go and get the concerns from across the healthcare system. So we were talking to attendants, talking to groundsmen, talking to PCAs. the practical nurse, the doctors and there’s a general concern where it comes to the knowledge of the emergency plan. The management keeps saying that yes they have a plan but when we ask most of the nurses “What’s the plan?, Explain to me the plan.” there are a lot of questions. Where will the nurses be quarantined should they be exposed ? What will happen with their families should they be put into that quarantine area or should they be working directly with the COVID-19 program? How is transportation? How will they get to and from work now we know that the public transportation has all but closed off. Some nurses travel interdistrict, some nurses travel from village to the health institution and we don’t all have a means of transportation so these logistics have to be plotted, they have to be provided for. You can’t tell the nurse “You know what that is not my responsibility you need to present yourself at work.” when the transportation system is down. Provisions for the nurses, quite a bit of us work the same hours the store are open, we’re now instituted a twelve hour rotation in most of the hospitals so no nurses since they’ve started last week some of them are complaining that they are starting to run low on provisions. How can Ministry make allocations for a store in a municipality to be opened just for the personnel from the hospital for the healthcare providers to have access to these services.”
Spencer also stated how the general public can help ease the burden of the nurses for the time being.
Darrell Spencer, President, Nurses Association of Belize: “Short term, the public stay at home. Maintain good hygiene. The public only go to the hospital if you have emergency life threatening, bleeding, those kinds of conditions to the hospital. To the public utilize the hotline, the hotlines are set up find what is the hotline in your area and utilize those hotlines so that you’re given guidance as to what health services are accessible and what health services you need to go into the hospital for, what other advice you can be given to take care of a little problem you’re having rather than going into the hospital. By going in to the hospital you have to do transportation to get there, you have to do contact with people and you’re exposing yourself, your family and all those persons that you come in contact with so that is my plea to the public. We have to be using these PPE’s comfort in this instance is a state of mind basically. The nurses aren’t convinced, the healthcare workers I should say, aren’t convinced that the PPEs that are being given are adequate. If they, administration, then have information to justify why the PPEs that are provided are adequate then come out to the people and the staff, come out to the providers and explain this position but on a general consensus in healthcare system people literally don’t know what is available and how to use them properly and where they can access them.”
Yesterday, we told you about a release from the National Council of Nurses and Midwives, in which they encouraged the nurses to maintain their Code of Ethics. However, Spencer stated that it is not a matter of the Code of Ethics but rather the fact that the nurses and other healthcare providers feel exposed and that their lives may be at risk.