In her speech at the National Nursing Conference, Dr. Marjorie Parks, retiring deputy director of health services and Chief Nursing Officer, chided the government for interfering with the nursing profession.
At the conference, held in Orange Walk last Friday and in celebration of Nurses Week, Parks explained that while she served as the Principal Nursing Officer since 1998, the “situation was changed in 2008 when almost all decisions for nursing and nurses were taken over by the political directorate at the Ministry of Health.”
She went on to say, in the presence of Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin, and CEO in the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen, that the Nurses and midwives Council of Belize, a statutory body since 1923, was a victim of political control.
Parks explained that since 2008, nurses who had been operating in ‘acting’ posts for years were not promoted to officially fill the post, despite qualification, experience and recommendations.
She drew example from the acting Registrar of the Nursing and the RN who is carrying out the responsibility for Infection control at the Corozal Hospital.
She also highlighted that Belize has not been represented at various nursing forum as representatives were often prevented for being at important regional and international meetings, conferences and other forum, even when funding was available.
In a few instances the Chief Nurse has had to take vacation leave to attend important official activities.
Parks entered into nursing as a student in 1976, and also served as a sister tutor to student nurses at the Belize School of nursing for 15 years.
In her tenure as Principal Nursing Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, she has made milestone accomplishments, including setting up of MOH’s Licensing and Accreditation Unit, establishing the National Referral System, and spearheading the national nursing review, which resulted in the upgrading of nurses positions and salaries.