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Strategic plan for nurses, midwives being finalised | 11 September 2019

Strategic plan for nurses, midwives being finalised

Nurses are to benefit from a new five-year strategic plan which will provide them direction and guidance in their profession

Nurses and midwives in Seychelles will in the near future have a strategic plan which will provide them direction and guidance in their profession.

The Ministry of Health is in the process of drafting a first strategic plan for nurses and midwives in Seychelles.

Still in its white paper stage, the five-year ‘Strategic Plan for Nurses and Midwifery 2019-2024’ is aimed at directing the profession of the nurses and midwives in Seychelles for the next five years, both in government and private sector, by addressing the strengths and weaknesses in line with the profession.

It will define the priorities required to address structures and systems to manage, educate, lead and regulate the two professions for their enhanced contributions in improving health outcome in line with the Seychelles National Health Strategic Plan.

The drafting of the strategic plan started late last year involving a working committee from the principal secretary’s secretariat in the Ministry of Health, led by chief nursing officer Gylian Mein with the help of health consultant Peggy Vidot.

After three months of consultations with nurses in the public and private sectors and also with stakeholders and non-governmental organisations (NGO) affiliated with nursing, the content of the strategic direction for nurses and midwives was presented to stakeholders who could not attend the various consultation sessions.

The stakeholders from the Ministry of Health, the private health sector and the partners and NGOs associated with the nursing profession met yesterday at the auditorium of the Sheikh Khalifa diagnostic centre in a last stakeholders meeting to put forward their contributions, comments and suggestions before the document is validated.

It was an opportunity for the stakeholders to review, discuss and agree if what has been pre-drafted was really what they wanted for the advancement of the two professions for the next five years.

According to Ms Mein, the final version of the drafted document will be sent to the Cabinet of Ministers for approval. If approved, the strategic plan is expected to come into force by early next year.

There are about 800 nurses who are registered with the nursing council out of which only 527 nurses are practicing the profession with 20% working in the private sector.

The strategic plan is based on the following main areas of intervention, namely the workforce planning which will also include the scheme of service for retention of nurses, practice of the profession in regards to standard, education in regards to higher training and specialisation, and work environment and leadership.

Some of the nurses and midwives who talked to the media said the session was very fruitful as having their first strategic plan will help them to move forward, thus putting their profession on a higher level.

“Each one of us knows the kind of situation we are all working in and the different challenges we face in our profession. So this strategic plan will act as a sort of encouragement catalyst to encourage us to further improve our knowledge so that we would contribute better. In other words, the strategic plan is offering us the opportunity to see what the next five years will hold for us,” said Dorothy Florine, a nurse from the western region of Mahe.

“The strategic plan is helping us to visualise how the nursing profession will be in five years’ time in Seychelles. And as office managers, it will help us to address the needs of the nurses and that of the patients also,” said John Dubel, senior nurse manager with the Health Care Agency.

Nurses and midwives collectively form the largest component of the health workforce, and have close contact with many people across the age continuum and in all health-service areas. Nursing and midwifery services are vital resources for attaining health and development targets such as strengthening the integration of health services, ensuring clients receive quality services for holistic well-being in line with their expectations.

Over the last five years, the number of nurses leaving the profession has been more than the number of graduates entering the labour market. The number has not been adequate to replace the nurses leaving let alone filling existing vacancies and catering for service expansion, both in the private and public sector.

To note, during the past five years, 2013-2017, only 91 graduates joined the profession while 81 nurses left the profession thus showing a significant imbalance between the local supply and demand. There are 70 expatriate nurses working in Seychelles at the moment.

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