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International Nursing

Nurses ‘play cards for a considerable amount of the day’, claims US politician

The Senator’s comments have sparked outrage with nurses worldwide.

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Maureen-Walsh
TVW

A senior US Politician claims that nurses in small, rural hospitals ‘play cards for a considerable amount of the day’.

State Senator Maureen Walsh proclaimed on the Senate floor that nurses working in smaller, rural hospitals should be exempt from certain legal protections because they ‘play cards for a considerable amount of the day’.

Her comments came during a debate on SHB 1155, a piece of legislation that would ensure nurses get uninterrupted breaks alongside mandatory overtime protection no matter the size of the hospital.

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“I understand helping with employees and making sure that we have rest breaks and things like that, but I also understand that we need to care for patients, first and foremost.”

Adding; “putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of individuals — I would submit to you that those nurses probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day,”

The Senator’s comments have sparked outrage with nurses worldwide.

‘Incredibly disrespectful’.

In response to the comments, the Washington State Nurses Association said “Ignoring for a moment the incredibly disrespectful and patronizing nature of Sen. Walsh’s remarks, it’s evident that she misunderstands the purpose and function of the bill. Mandatory overtime isn’t just an abhorrent employer practice: it’s also a terrible patient care practice.

Study after study show that unplanned overtime assignments have a high potential to be unsafe. Working more than 10 hours in a given day, when unplanned, results in lower quality of care, higher RN burnout, decreased patient satisfaction, and increased errors.

“That’s why, ultimately, there is zero logic behind an amendment to the rest breaks bill that would cover nurses and patients in some hospitals, while leaving others without any protections. There’s a reason it’s so hard to recruit nurses to rural facilities – exempting them from laws requiring uninterrupted breaks and subjecting them to mandatory overtime would just make it worse.

“No, Senator, nurses are not sitting around playing cards. They are taking care of your neighbors, your family, your community.”

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Health Politics

Minimum salary threshold for foreign workers would only worsen nursing shortages

Patients are already concerned that there are not enough nurses to care for them.

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Hospital Admissions Unit

The £38,000 salary threshold would prevent nurses from being recruited to work here.

A minimum salary threshold for workers wanting to relocate to the UK would only harm the recruitment of healthcare professionals, the Royal College of Nursing has warned.

The Centre for Social Justice, co-founded by former Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith, is recommending the government increase the threshold in a bid to restore “integrity” to Britain’s immigration system.

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With the start salary of both nurses and junior doctors being significant below this threshold alongside more than 100,000 vacancies throughout the NHS in England, ministers would need to ensure clarify health workers would be exempt from the proposed regulations.

A spokesperson for London Mayor Sadique Khan said: “Far from raising the minimum salary threshold, the Mayor believes the government should instead be lowering it to £21,000 and welcoming the skilled migration that London, and the rest of the country, will desperately need post-Brexit.”

‘Cumbersome and bureaucratic’.

Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing says; “Such a high salary threshold would prevent nurses and other health and care professionals from other countries being recruited to work here.

“International recruitment has always been a stopgap for long term vacancies and, as the Government hasn’t invested in the long term growth of the UK nursing workforce, the recruitment crisis will only worsen if nurses aren’t exempt.

“Even if the NHS is exempt, this change could be a barrier to ensuring overall workforce supply for the wider health and care sector, which also suffers high levels of staff shortages.

“The previous Home Secretary said he wanted to streamline the immigration process for highly skilled workers. The current immigration system, nurses tell us, is cumbersome and bureaucratic. It should be easier for immigrants and their employers to apply.

“Immigration reform is a complicated issue, especially with the current Brexit uncertainty, but patients are concerned that there are not enough nurses to care for them.

“If any future immigration system is to earn peoples’ trust, it must value the work of international nurses and allow them to keep working here, alongside much-needed investment in the UK workforce.”

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International Nursing

Caribbean nurse exchange pilot gets underway

The nurses will undertake a bespoke education programme over five months.

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Jamaican nurse exchange pilot

The pilot aims to create a long-lasting reciprocal relationship between the UK and Jamaica.

Last month, a cohort of nurses from the Caribbean Island of Jamaica were welcomed to the UK as part of a revolutionary international education partnership.

A pilot scheme between Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Health Education England and the Jamaican Ministry of Health aims to create a long-lasting reciprocal relationship between the UK and Jamaica.

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The nurses will undertake a bespoke education programme over five months and will be evaluated against a framework of nationally recognised competencies.

Multi-disciplinary learning.

Working across both the adult and paediatric Critical Care Units, they will learn skills from multi-disciplinary teams.

Kimberly Reid-Ferro, one of the nurses who is working on Ward L06, said: “Coming on this journey was initially a struggle having to leave my family, but when I have received such a warm welcome and appreciation from the Leeds Trust staff, things have started to lighten up.

“I have been working on L06 so far and trust me, they are like family! On my first day I worked with Keren, she was such a sweetheart. She took really good care of me. Denise is my other mentor and she is like an angel. She looks after me very well. I am having a wonderful time with my new ICU family, just like I am used to back home.”

Enhancing care skills.

The program has been designed to enhance their care skills and enable them to implement positive changes in practice back in Jamaica.

Lisa Grant, Chief Nurse at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are extremely proud to be part of this partnership that brings with it fantastic benefits both to us as a Trust but more importantly, to the Jamaican health system.

“This project gives us a real opportunity to contribute to the improvement of healthcare delivery worldwide, and we are really excited to work with the team and see how far this partnership can take us.”

A mutually-beneficial relationship.

Tracey Collins, Head of Global Nursing at Health Education England, said: “We welcome the Jamaican nurses who have arrived in the UK to begin their journey of learning in Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

“This is the start of what we hope will be a mutually-beneficial relationship with the Jamaican government that will see nurses from the Caribbean further develop their skills and competencies and UK multi-disciplinary staff travel to Jamaica to provide support for the nursing workforce there.

“This is an exciting partnership that will benefit patients both in the UK and Jamaica.”

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