MP wants better pay for nurses


MP For Cumuto/Manzanilla Dr Rai Ragbir. FILE PHOTO –

CUMUTO/Manzanilla MP Dr Rai Ragbir says the country’s nurses deserve every commendation and compensation available to them for going beyond the call, as one of the major first responders, during the height of the covid19 pandemic.

In a press release sent to mark Nurses Week, celebrated from May 6-12, Ragbir said the nation owes every nurse a debt of gratitude as he made the point that, “not all heroes wear capes.”

He said Nurses Week is a reminder of the extremely hard and tireless work nurses do to look after the health needs of the nation.

Nurses, Ragbir said, were once viewed simply as doctors’ assistants, but are now recognised as highly trained, specialised professionals with a wide range of skills and capabilities. He said becoming a nurse requires years of study and extreme focus and dedication.

This versatile career with dozens of specialities is a crucial link between patients and doctors. Additionally, nurses do some of the most difficult and heart-breaking tasks in the medical world.

Ragbir, himself a medical practitioner, said as workers who do the most essential healthcare tasks, nurses serve as the first point of contact for most patients.

During the pandemic, he pointed out, they played a critical role in carrying out many responsibilities as front-line workers. They continue to be at the front line of patient care in hospitals and actively involved with evaluation and monitoring in the community.

He said nurses have to ensure all patients receive personalised, high-quality services irrespective of their infectious conditions.

Ragbir said nurses also sacrifice their personal lives and even their family lives to ensure they give quality healthcare, and many nurses even gave their lives for the well-being of others during the pandemic.

The MP said Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh had said in Parliament that measures were being put in place to compensate nurses.

“This only came after being pressed by the MP for Cumuto/Manzanilla due to a question being (put) to the Minister of Health. The nurses’ levels of burnout have been extremely high due to their personal sacrifices and that of their families during the pandemic,” Ragbir said.

He said the reality of the increase in personal expenditure, with no increase in salary, led to a further burden on them, especially single-mother/single-parent nurses.

Ragbir said in many instances, nurses developed workplace phobia, creating a tendency to quit their jobs, brought on by a multitude of factors including physical exhaustion; personal health issues; fear, anxiety, loneliness, and relationship crisis; and sleep disorders.

“As a medical practitioner myself, I believe nurses deserve all forms of compensation especially for their work during the pandemic,” Ragbir said, adding that as an MP, he will continue to advocate for nurses, whom he described as Trinidad and Tobago’s heroes.

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