Minister backs suspension
Nine nurses have been suspended by the Samoa Nurses Council for the lack of certification.
The suspension was made two weeks ago after the nurses working at the National Health Services failed to sit the biannual midwifery examination.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, the Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Talalelei, confirmed the decision.
“It’s their fault for being reckless,” Tuitama said.
“They were given the chance to sit the exam which is only two days but they did not show up."
“Another examination was set up for them who did not sit the first test and the same thing happened. They did not show up!”
The Minister outlined that the law is quite clear and strict.
“According to the law, they cannot be midwifery nurses unless they are certified. I don’t know who is at fault, whether it’s the N.H.S management or the nurses.... and Nurses Council does not accept midwifery nurses who are not certified."
“They are following the law that’s in accordance with the Nurses and Midwifery Act 2007.”
Tuitama added that the Council was merely performing its role.
“They did their job because if anything happens, who will be liable? It will be Council and the hospital."
“And we are talking about the lives and safety of our people. They cannot conduct midwifery duties if they are not certified.”
Tuitama said the nurses were given two chances to sit the exam and they did not bother to show up.
“They can’t be midwives unless they go through the credential process. If their services are really needed then we will give them another chance.”
The Minister said the suspension of the nurses would not affect the services provided by the hospital in this section.
“Maybe some midwifes will be overworked.... maybe, but that should not be the issue if the management allocates the nurses properly to the clinics and the wards, that should not happen.”
The Minister added that the management of N.H.S. needs to have a look at the issue.
“This is a management issue. They are responsible to make sure these nurses sit the test… why did they not go?"
“I also enquired with the management who turned around and blamed the nurses. I don’t know, but I will get to the bottom of this.”
Chairperson for the Nurses Council, Taulapapa Fa’amanatu Nielson said the matter of uncertified midwifery nurses was reported to them by the Ministry of Health.
“They were given two chances to sit the exam and did not show up and so we as the Council acted accordingly to the law and suspended the nine midwifery nurses because they are not certified,” said Taulapapa.
“But that does not mean they are not nurses anymore."
No, they are still registered nurses they can still conduct nursing duties, just not midwifery duties.
“There are logical reasons behind the suspension. The midwifery nurses are required to sit the two-day credential exam, to upgrade their skills and get certification."
“This is a vital tool in their practice to undergo these trainings, which only takes two days."
“The Council is mindful of the safety and the lives of our people is at stake when uncertified nurses are working."
“This is unacceptable and that is why the board did what they are mandated to do.
Nonetheless we are giving them another chance to sit the exam next month,” explained Taulapapa.
It was not possible to get a comment from the nurses involved.