Nurses in The Bahamas

  1. Hello to my fellow nurses am a student male nurse in THe Bahamas. Am writing today to get yall feedback about a concern I have at heart. In The Bahamas there has always been an outcry for the shortish of nurses and just recently stats were given that said that there is a shortish of 300 nurses. In my opinion the reason for the shortish of nurses is because nurses in The Bahamas are usually looked upon as a non-profession and therefore are paid minimum wages. So when big health agencies from overseas offer our nurses an attractive deal which includes housing, citizenship, insurance, great pay and education they are usually quick to accept this deal.
    My reason for writing is basically to see if you guys agree with that. Whether or not these agencies are taking advantage or are they being fair to the Bahamian Government by taking away their nurses? Or do you guys see it in a different way?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   sjoe
    Many countries all over the world are angry that their nurses are coming to the US for more money, which only makes their nursing shortage worse.

    Unless the Bahamas (and these other countries) can provide what the nurses want (money, benefits, status, etc.), they will be tempted to leave to find what they want elsewhere. No different from other kinds of workers in ALL fields who would like to come to the US--the land of milk and honey (or is is "cars and money"?).

    Nobody is kidnapping these people and bringing them here against their will, you know. And the only thing I can think of that your government could do to stop it is to pull all nurses' passports, which I doubt would go over politically.

    I hope to visit your lovely islands some day. I can't imagine water being so clear (it wasn't in Hawaii).
    Last edit by sjoe on Sep 19, '02
  4. by   teeituptom
    Howdy yall
    from deep in the heat of texas


    Sounds like on the surface anyway, that being a nurse in the Bahamas would be a great job. Great weather, golfcourse, nice beautifull beaches, half naked bimbo tourists.


    I just a dirty old man golfer with fantasies



    doo wah ditty
  5. by   live4today
    Nurse Jimo......welcome to Allnurses!

    As a former travel nurse myself, I loved traveling to exotic places to work. It hurt to see the poverty that I often saw as I traveled around the globe, then to go "home" to my nice apartment provided me by the agency that I traveled with.

    I don't blame you for feeling the way you do. The only thing that will possibly change the situation of nurses who live and work in the Bahamas is an "uproar" so to speak.....not in a violent way.....but in way that attracts media attention to the situation of the nurses there.

    May I suggest to you that when you graduate, you take an assignment here in the USA so you can see for yourself the differences between the two places. Nurses here are treated like crap most times too.....but compared to what your nurses are making.....we are quite wealthy.

    I was in Nassau and Paradise Islands in the Spring of 1981 or 1982 (can't rightly recall at the moment). We stayed in the best accomodations on the beach.....beautiful clear waters, white sandy beaches, excellent food and hospitality....... However, I was there as a tourist with my former spouse on vacation...did not work there as a nurse as I wasn't a nurse at that time, but a Real Estate Agent. (according to your profile.....you weren't even born when we visited your beautiful homeland).

    We rode the "jitney" to town to see how the local people lived, and I almost cried. It hurt to the core.....to say the least.
    But.....one thing I noticed was the humble pride and respect you all have for yourselves. I was honored by that, and felt humbled to be among your people.

    Yes.....the Agencies in our country are taking advantage of other countries for their selfish gain.......no doubt about it. I disapprove of them doing this. But.......something good comes out of something bad in that nurses who travel to the Bahamas come away with something far greater than the money they made.....IF they took the time while living there to truly embrace the Bahamian culture and mingled among you in the towns where you all lived AWAY from those they meet on the beach or in the fine hotels.

    I hope one day you get to come to America to see the differences. I also hope your government wakes up to the atrocities that are being created by ignoring the plight of its own nurses. You all deserve sooooo much better, and I hope the changes in nursing become more positive in your homeland sooner than later. :kiss
    Last edit by live4today on Sep 19, '02
  6. by   cargal
    Nurse Jimo,
    I visited Eleuthera over Christmas. I loved the island. Which island are you from? Do they really just pay minimum wage? Who hires the nurses? Do you have socialized medicine or are the nurses hired by private hospitals etc. Tell us about your health care system on the islands. I would love to be a nurse there for about 6 months. I agree with the other posters who stated that you must become politically involved. Let us know how things are going and if you need any help!
  7. by   CATHYW
    Nurse Jimo,
    I was in Nassau last week!
    When I was there 2 years ago, our tour guide showed us a hospital for "regular Bahamians" (I can't remember the name) and one for "people with insurance," called the Princess Margaret Hospital. Are the rules for nurses the same at both hospitals, or can you work at the Princess Margaret for better pay and benefits?
    Good luck!
  8. by   rncountry
    Welcome to allnurses! Hope to see you here frequently. What you are describing is everywhere. The idea that nurses are not professionals is also everywhere. I would suggest that you take a look under the heading nursing activism on this board, and you will find reams of information. Just type in nursing shortage on a search and so much information will come up it will give you a headache. Nurses worldwide are looking for decent working conditions, decent pay and decent respect.
    What is minimum wage there? Do you have unions? Socialized medicine? I am really interested in finding out more. Plan to vacation there come next year.
    sjoe, you've been to Hawaii? What island? I lived there as a child while my dad was stationed at Barber's Point Naval Base. Sometimes the water is cloudy when the surf is heavy. What time of the year where you there? Two years ago took the whole family back there for vacation, it was like going home again. I think I miss Hawaii every day of my life. So many wonderful childhood memories there.
  9. by   sjoe
    rncountry--I lived there all of 1993, on Oahu--Honolulu. The VA offer fell through, as they took too long to open their psych ward, so I worked for 2 agencies at the State mental hospital on the north shore--Kaneohe. (Which I don't recommend. They lost their accreditation in 1973, I believe it was. Poorly and dangerously run.)

    Living there was a lot different from vacationing, which I had done a few times previously. Lots of racism and crime (against mainland tourists who, for example, wander over to the west coast). It is still a colony in that most everything is owned and run by a very small group of people. Nice weather, of course. High rents. Relatively low RN pay relative to living expenses.

    I have spent at least a week or two each on Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai as well. Each has its own personality, as you know. For a visit, I think Maui is the most interesting and varied.

    But so far I've had no interest in going back. An Inside Passage cruise and one of the Caribbean, however, seem attractive.
    Last edit by sjoe on Sep 19, '02
  10. by   nursenoelle
    rncountry..dad was in the navy too! we were stationed at pearl harbor but lived @ iroquois pt. in ewa beach drove past barbers pt all the time, tried to make a living and go to school after dad had retired and moved back to the mainland but it was waaayyy to hard to keep my lights on! anyway,get homesick@time talk to anybody about home,moved there when I was 8 dad retired out there I was 19
  11. by   rncountry
    I lived in Hawaii from the time I was 6, landed on my birthday, till I was just past 8. Got there in 1969 and even then the crime rate was quite high.
    Nursenoelle, when I went there on vacation we went to Barber's point, now closed, so we could go on. I wanted to go back to the house I lived in. We drove by the road to get to the entrance twice because what used to be cane fields are now housing areas. Eva and Eva Beach had changed so much, used to be just little towns. Going back to my house was very bittersweet. The reason Hawaii has always loomed so large for me is because it was the last place I lived with my dad, after we can back my parents divorced. When I went back to where we lived I found the house by going to the school and walking the route to my house, which looked much too small. That side of the island was having a severe drought and everything was brown. Somebody had cut down the avocodo tree we had in the front yard, and the coconut tree in front of the house across the street was gone too. I used to climb that tree. The plumeria tree was still there that I used to make lei's though. Took a couple blossoms. Driving around there was an old P3-orien sitting on the runway, the plane my dad was a flight engineer of. It was then that I broke down and cried. It was two days before I left for Hawaii that I had found out my dad had inoperable melanoma that had mets to his brain. The emotions rolled that day. Went to the beach on base where I had learned to swim, and my kids saw real surf for the first time. The tension I had felt all day dissolved when I had told my kids not to turn their backs to the ocean because you never knew when a large wave would come up, my oldest who was 16 said you mean like this? and promptly turned his back and looked at me smiling sweetly, I smiled right back as a large wave came up and soaked him from the middle of his back down, nearly knocking him over. I laughed so hard my sides ached and tears ran. A reaction to the emotions of earlier in the day as much as the incredible look of surprise on his face. Wish I had gotten a picture of it.
    In Eva there used to be a pizza/ Italian restaurant run by this wonderful Italian woman who was quite large, we went there frequently and she would scoop me up in soft fleshy arms and hug me every time. It was the movie set pizzaria, checked tablecloths and all. Eva Beach had an old sugar cane mill still. When I was in second grade had a cane spider jump out at me from my cubby hole in school, they'd been burning the cane off. And those spiders aren't small. My dad put screen over all of out drains after I jumped in the shower one night and three water bugs(coakroaches) fell out of the shower curtain on me. Talk about screaming! Used to go to the beach nearly every day after school. Went barefoot in school. Wondered where the showers on the beach where after we moved back to Michigan. Never could find good teriaki anymore either.
    When we were on vacation the first day walking around Honolulu, the smells brought things back more than anything. The oriental food, the flowers, the ocean. Going to the International Market, haggling over prices. Got my kids to try pickled seaweed. Didn't bother much with Wakiki beach, went down the way to where the natives go. Still laughed when it started to rain and all the tourists went inside while we kept walking because I knew it would quit in a minute and then it would smell even better. Went to sharks cove so my kids could experience tidal pools and all the life there.
    Enjoyed living on Hawaiian time, for 10 days anyway.
  12. by   sjoe
    rncountry--thanks. nice story.
  13. by   flowerchild
    I had no idea the Bahama hospitals paid so poorly. Everything is so darn expensive down there, I assumed that a nurse would make decent money.

    I spent a month on Little Abaco one summer. It was wonderful, it came with a boat and a car. We used the boat for island hopping and shopping. Crystal blue water....aahhhhhh. The house sat on a bluff with the Carribean on one side and the Atlantic on the other. Pure Bliss.

    I was offered a job in the Caymen Islands a few years ago. The pay was competitive to what I make here and inlcuded housing and cost of living stipends. I would have taken it but I was a little apprehensive about living on an island only 3 miles long and 1/2 mile wide for a year. Wasn't ready to be so hemmend in by anything at the time.

    I don't blame the island nurses for leaving for more opportunity when the pay is only minimum wage and living conditions so poor. I didn't see any slums when I was there. We drove around the island once and the people who lived there had brightly painted, cute homes scattered over the island. All the fancy homes were on the water and owned by mostly Americans, who rented them out to the tourists. I wouldn't visit Nassua or the other citified tourist islands. I would liken the different islands to country vs city....or in this case it's out island vs city island. I had no idea the pay was so low for nurses but I do understand the economic impact from foriegners owning all the touristy money making enterprises while the islanders are working for them and just getting by. The resources of the native populous are limited to the islands resources, which unfortunatly are few.
  14. by   Nurse Jimo
    Hello people its nice to see that you guys responded to my post and thank you very so much for your support. On the island where i lve which is New Providence there two popular hospitals, Princess Margaret which is the government sector and Doctors Hospital the private sector. And because of the shortage of nurses, these two sectors usually have to trade nurse frequently, meaning that nurse have to work everyday all day. An dby the looks of it I dont think that i will be doing that because am young and i have a life i dont plan to be working no graveyard shifts.
    The starting salary for nurses is $1600 a month which is rediculous and am not to sure about the benefits, more than likely there are not very attractive. Nevertheless I do not want you guys to quote me wrong because i love the idea of helping people in every aspect especially children. As nurses we care for people according to their needs so therefore I think we should be aware of our own needs such as security and assurance, do you guys feel me. am saying that it times that we use what we were for our own good, probably write up a care plan for ourself and give it to the government to meet our needs. LOL.
    Anyway guys we gah link up again or I will catch you guys on the next track. Hit me up at jimo1plenial@hotmail.com.

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