Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Nursing shortage

Over this past year, the work of Nazarene Hospital has been seriously impacted by the loss of many staff--nursing officers and community health workers (CHWs)--to government and other NGO positions.  There are a number of reasons:  better pay, less work, even better pay.  Even many of our new hires have only lasted a few months.  Last year we had to close to longwe patients and then closed the medical ward to compensate for the shortage of workers.  Somehow, by the grace of God, we have continued to provide care for the hundreds of patients who come to our hospital every week.

The nursing shortage escalated to crisis level just a few weeks ago.  There has always been somewhat of a difference in salary funds provided for government vs. church health services.  Government positions just pay better.  But that difference recently became much greater when nurses and CHWs at government hospitals and health centers received a 45% pay raise.  The allocation for church health services only allowed for a 1% raise.  Well, we just can't compete with that kind of a discrepancy.  So another exodus began.

Hospital administration is doing their best to keep things together.  Adjustments have been made in the budget and the schedule.  College of Nursing tutors are volunteering to take some shifts while they are on school break.  The hospital continues to advertise the open positions, hoping for workers who feel a call to serve.

And most importantly... we are calling our family, friends, co-workers, supporters, and the church around the world to prayer.  Will you join us?  Missionaries and national staff gathered together last week for a special meeting.  Here are some of the prayer points from that time:
  • Let us be thankful for all that God has done, praise Him for His greatness, and trust that He knows our needs and hears our prayers.
  • We must confess our sins and humbly pray for God's forgiveness and presence in our lives--our personal lives, family lives, church and ministry.  Pray for the healing of Papua New Guinea.
  • We want to fast and pray to draw close to God--not just that we might be blessed, but that God would use us to minister to the oppressed and poor of PNG and that God would bring about justice in health care and politics in our country.  Whether in times of blessing or trial, we want to free the oppressed as agents of God's love and representatives of His kingdom.
  • Pray for dedicated Christian workers to join us in this ministry--not just for doing health care and relieving our work load, but that people would come to know Christ--an eternal harvest.
  • Pray that our work would continue to be a powerful tool of the church to spread the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.  Pray that we would let our light shine not only through health care, but in our families and in our community.  Pray for our graduate nursing students, Community Based Health Care, Primary Health, and Rural Health workers who are taking this work to areas throughout PNG.
  • Pray for our leaders in government, both national and provincial, Church Health Services, and administration.  Pray that God would move on our bhalf for the good of all Christian Health Services across the country.  Pray against corruption and for godly leaders to be raised up in the next election (2012).
  • Pray that we would be faithful in our trials, that God would use it as a time to teach us, develop our Christian character, seek Him for direction, and believe in what He is doing among us and in  us.  Pray for faith to follow Him in all circumstances, both for yourself and your fellow co-workers.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."
~ James 1:2-5

This is a link to Dr. Scott's blog about the crisis.

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