Jamaica Says U.S. And Others Are 'Poaching' Its Nurses

Jamaica is facing a crisis as specialized nurses leave the island to take jobs in North America and Europe.

The exodus has forced Jamaican hospitals to reschedule some complex surgeries because of a lack of nursing staff on their wards.

James Moss-Solomon, the chairman of the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, says the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are, in his words, “poaching” Jamaica’s most critical nurses.

“Specialist nurses is the problem. We have tons of regular nurses,” he says.

He’s talking about nurses trained to work in such settings as intensive care units, operating theaters and emergency rooms. They’re the ones being lured away. Moss-Solomon says it’s very hard to replace them.

“We do very good training of specialist nurses here,” he says. “We train them at a fraction of the cost of what it costs you in the United States or Canada or the U.K.. So it’s an economic issue. There’s a great saving [for foreign countries] in just poaching instead of training.”

Moss-Solomon says the exodus is crippling hospitals across Jamaica. Last week his hospital was forced to cancel several complex elective surgeries because it didn’t have the staff to handle the procedures. Read more

Source: NPR.org