Symposium for nurses by nurses ‘You have a vocation and please keep doing what you do best’ ‒ President Ramkalawan |14 May 2022
To commemorate International Nurses’ Day 2022, the Nurses Association of the Republic of Seychelles organised a symposium with the theme ‘Nurses: A voice to lead ‒ nurses ‒ midwives leading the Covid-19 health response in Seychelles’.
Before the start of the programme, all present remembered all the families and friends of nurses who suffered and lost their loved ones because of Covid-19.
The symposium, held yesterday at the Savoy Resort & Spa, focused on the lessons learnt of nursing/midwifery led-care and services of Covid-19 national health response.
The event was graced by the presence of President Wavel Ramkalawan; Speaker of the National Assembly Roger Mancienne; Health Minister Peggy Vidot; Employment and Social Affairs Minister Patricia Francourt; and Youth, Sports and Family Minister Marie-Celine Zialor.
Among the objectives of the forum were to value the leading role of nurses in national emergency, mass community vaccination campaign leading to positive impact on the citizens, and recognise the unique roles of the nurses in infection prevention of Covid-19.
They also discussed possible actions and recommendations for the improvement of nursing care and services in Seychelles.
The recommendations will help provide new strategic directions to further improve the nursing and midwifery practices, preparing for the next health crisis ‒ if and when one should arise; focus on the need to protect, support and invest in the nursing profession and strengthen the health system in Seychelles and the socio-economic sustainability to achieve the sustainable development goals for Seychelles in this new normal.
Addressing the participants, President Ramkalawan acknowledged the hard work of the nurses and midwives in Seychelles, especially in the time of the pandemic.
“When I attended the graduation ceremony of NIHSS, I could feel the enthusiasm of the young people to embrace new vocation despite all the challenges you are faced with every day. Nursing is a vocation! You are the true generals in this battle. But even though you are giving your best you still get insulted. But some get a thank you and even a rose. Do not give up and rest assured that the government will support you in your work,” said President Ramkalawan.
President Ramkalawan also shared that there are various ongoing projects within the Ministry of Health which will help ease the situation.
“I was made aware by Minister Vidot that we were losing many of the qualified nurses due to the recent changes in retirement age and pension. We are having a discussion with the Seychelles Pension Fund to talk about your work specifically.”
Minister Vidot also commended the nurses and she asked them to demonstrate their abilities and capacities to show they can be in leadership role.
“Nurses are well placed to have first-hand knowledge on how policies impact the community and the individuals. They also understand what is required to make the health care system work. We are working on reducing wastage in the health care, and you are the ones who will help us do this transformation,” noted the minister.
Rosie Bistoquet, president of the Nurses Association of the Republic of Seychelles (Nars), explained that Nars has contextualised the theme as ‘Nurses: a voice to lead ‒ Valuing the contributions of Seychellois nurses during the Covid-19 pandemic’. This theme has been derived based on facts, on real life experiences of nurses fighting a winning battle against Covid-19, not only for themselves but for the community of Seychelles. Nars would like to stress on the fact that in some cases the nurses were literally working until they drop, while actively embracing the challenges presented by Covid-19. This is a clear message that the need for nurses, midwives has never been greater!”
Mrs Bistoquet also stated that in responding to this dire and unprecedented health crisis, as nurses they have been doing what they have been educated and prepared to do.
“However, in the fight against Covid-19, nurses and midwives are working against the clock. Does the working environment created by Covid-19 for nurses and midwives promote an acceptable work life balance?”
Nursing and midwifery are caring professions and they often place the needs of patients before their personal and family needs. This could result in compassion fatigue, burn-out and chronic stress in the personal life of nurses. In addition, working different shifts, multi-tasking and inadequate staffing can add to this massive problem.
The patron of Nars, Macsuzy Mondon, stated that this symposium seeks, among other objectives, to provide an opportunity for the Seychelles community to value the critical roles the nurses have played in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If we ever needed to be reminded of the importance of nurses for patients, as well as for community health, the Covid-19 pandemic has been and continues to be a loud wake-up call for everyone. We need to acknowledge that nurses are distinct from other healthcare providers because they have a wide scope of practice and approach to medical care. This is particularly the case in Seychelles, where nurses play an integral role in promoting health, preventing illness, and caring for all individuals, including those who are physically or mentally impaired. Our local nurses are known to be an important asset to doctors, as their role sometimes extend to tasks and procedures beyond their normal duties,” said Mrs Mondon.
She added that the call for stronger leadership from our nurses and midwives in our health system is still relevant today, in view of the more challenging health issues like the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Adequate training and appropriate mentorship can also teach lessons on how to become a great nurse or midwife at all times and not just during a health crisis,” said Mrs Mondon.
Dr Gylian Mein, chief nursing officer, commended all the nursing and midwifery staff for all the achievements so far. “Nurses are at the forefront of the Covid-19 response. More than 200,000 doses of vaccines have been administered to our citizens, protecting lives and also contributing to economic growth. Our nurses remain the backbone of the Seychelles healthcare system. Over the past two years, we’ve had to open tight doors, negotiate slippery terrains, and overcome various obstacles and we’ve felt like giving up on more than one occasions. Now we may need to reassess and revise our objectives from time to time, but giving up has never been an option. Going forward, all prevention and preparedness crisis response plans must include nurses at all levels!”
Dr Mein, like other speakers, advocated for a need for higher education for nurses which encompasses graduate degrees as well as specialisations.
A candle was lit to honour the nursing vocation and two young nurses ‒ Tracy Didon and Erin Simeon ‒ were given a token for their performances in the last cohort of 2021.
Photos by Thomas Meriton