A call for unity and harmony was the main highlight of the opening ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the Caribbean Nursing Organization (CNO) and Leadership Summit at the Jolly Beach Resort and Spa on Wednesday morning.
Echoing that call was Health and the Environment Minister Molwyn Joseph, who said that harmony and camaraderie must exist among the key instrumentalities and stakeholders who operate in the medical fraternity.
Joseph called on the nurses, doctors and other medical technicians to work hand in hand with those who are in charge of policymaking.
“There has not been, from my observation, enough dialogue between the associations and the policymakers. We need to have that dialogue and rather than undertaking these issues in an environment that is more adversarial, we need to identify the synergies that should exist between the welfare and well-being of the nurses and the responsibility of policymakers to the nurses. That dialogue must happen.”
The Minister went on to say that the system suffers and the innocent patients suffer even more when there is a lack of harmony and dialogue among the key parties.
“Too long have we pursued this in an adversarial manner, too long, and it tends to retard the development of nurses and tends to undermine the standard and quality of service for the patients, the ones who should benefit. And as the Minister, I can tell you frankly that I am totally open to serious dialogue.”
Joseph praised the work and sacrifices of the nurses and lauded them for the care they had taken in making it possible for Antigua and Barbuda to become a Caribbean leader in the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and Syphilis.
Another speaker at the function was President of the Caribbean Nursing Association, Nurse Elnora Warner, who urged the gathering to reflect and ask themselves what is the significance of this cycle in time for the CNO. She said by reflecting on the accomplishments, successes, failures, and opportunities of the past sixty years, it will propel the body forward in its work and help it to respond more effectively to current issues that affect nurses.
There were brief remarks as well from Principal Nursing Officer of Antigua and Barbuda, Nurse Margaret Smith and Karen Josiah, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Nurses Association (ABNA)
Other officiators during the ninety-minute ceremony were Nurse Midwife Randy James Joseph who delivered a stunning rendition of the national anthem, Community Health Aid Stacey Jeffers who thrilled the gathering with her acapella performance in song, while Educator Joseph Nicholas had everyone applauding after he delivered a poem.
Members of the ABNA entertained with a dance while Mrs. Gwendolyn Snaggs of Trinidad and Tobago, the Vice President of the Caribbean Nursing Organization. delivered the vote of thanks.
The theme for this year’s event is ‘Nurses Reflecting, Retooling and Reenergizing the Organization to Advance Nursing Practice’.’
Over sixty delegates from the official CNO member states as well as the affiliate territories are taking part in the leadership summit.