Health Carousel Invests in Ugandan Nurse Recognition and Development
February 8, 2022: NPR audio story headline reads, “The U.S. is hiring nurses from abroad, depleting some countries’ health care systems.” It’s not a surprise that this recorded interview appeared a few days after CGFNS International released their “Sustain and Retain in 2022 and Beyond” report which calls for a global action plan to address the nursing workforce crisis.
In the NPR interview, a New York Times reporter details the experiences of three nurses in separate developing nations around the world and the efforts of recruiters to woo them away for opportunities in Western nations. The nurses’ accounts underscore the drain global migration can have on a home country’s healthcare system.
Hidden among these headlines of an impending global nursing crisis are the positive actions of one U.S. healthcare staffing company. Cincinnati-based Health Carousel recognizes its responsibility to the nations from which they recruit and to those countries experiencing extreme nursing shortages.
Herein we detail its efforts to improve the nursing profession and patient care in the developing nation of Uganda.
Making the Right In-Country Connections
In May of 2020, Health Carousel, which had already been awarding DAISY Awards to exceptional nurses working for the staffing agency, co-created the DAISY International Advocate Program with the DAISY Foundation.
“The reach and creativity of the Health Carousel Light the Way program is impressive and the DAISY Foundation is proud that our organizational friendship is making a difference in the global nursing workforce.” - Bonnie Barnes, DAISY Foundation Co-Founder
This program was developed to underwrite DAISY Awards for nurses in countries where there simply is no funding within the healthcare system to honor their nurses. Bonnie Barnes, co-founder of the foundation, helped Health Carousel connect with the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU). Their key contact became the vivacious Justus Cherop Kiplingat, President of the union.
A year later, with two successful DAISY Award ceremonies honoring a dozen of the country’s finest nurses behind them, Health Carousel asked the UNMU, “How else can we help Ugandan nurses?”
The Path to Healing a Nursing Shortage is Not Set in Stone
According to data from The World Bank, Uganda has just 1.2 nurses per 1,000 persons. This places the country in the bottom quartile of world nations. Given this, it would be easy to assume the first way to assist the UNMU was to train more nurses.
A lesson Health Carousel learned through conversations with UNMU officials is that the best way to help may not be so obvious.
Discovery calls with Mr. Kiplingat uncovered that the country was in most need of specialty-trained nurses. While there are as many as 60,000 RNs in total, very few have specialized training in the areas of critical care and obstetrics.
Based on this, Health Carousel and UNMU determined the first course of action was to elevate the ability of its nurses to care for the sickest of patients. Now a training program is being launched this spring with the education program licenses, US-based administrative resources, and computers needed being provided by Health Carousel.
The curriculum for the critical care nursing training has also been championed by the UNMU to the country’s ministry of health for official review. If the training receives accreditation, nurses completing it stand to benefit through increases in their salary scale upon completion. At the time this article is being prepared, accreditation is not official, but both Health Carousel and UNMU plan to proceed regardless of the outcome.
Looking to the Future
Health Carousel Chief Nursing Officer, Earl Dalton commented, “We will no doubt continue to support Ugandan nursing with the DAISY Awards, work hard to make the critical care training successful, and learn what to improve upon. We have already identified other nursing specialties which need attention such as obstetrics and oncology.”
Health Carousel has set for itself the goal of being the most ethical recruiter of global healthcare professionals and ensuring nursing supply sustainability by developing more and better-trained nurses in the countries in dire need of healthcare workers. This is all part of their Light the Way ethical and sustainable recruitment efforts in the U.S. and across the globe.