More than 30 years after the nation’s nursing school was absorbed into the Barbados Community College, Minister of Health Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic has called for a nursing school to fully focus on producing highly qualified nurses.
A nursing school, first established as part of the General Hospital in 1908, became the Tercentenary School of Nursing which was then attached in 1966 to then two-year-old Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Two decades later, the school was disbanded as the general nursing programme was placed under the community college’s health science programme.
Now, Lt Col Bostic declared: “I would love to see the day when there is a Barbados Community College nursing school.
“That would please me very much and we can then really do some good work here in this country and we will be able also to facilitate some of our other sister territories that do not have the capacity to train. This is the direction that I hope we will be going in.”
Speaking at the launch of a nursing auxiliary programme, at the BCC’s Language Centre, the health minister said the nursing profession is too important to the country for the nursing programme at the college to be under one of its divisions.
A severe shortage of nurses on island, including those specializing in various areas, has prompted the importation of scores of nurses from Cuba and Ghana in an attempt to fill the void.
The Minister of Health commended Sagicor Life Inc for partnering with the college to introduce the auxiliary programme which he said would redound to the benefit of the country, particularly its aging population.
Delivering the featured address at the launch, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw said the objective of the programme which opened on August 4 is to train nurses for the wider community and also to gain jobs at Sagicor’s Estates at St George retiree community development.
She praised the insurance giant for showing “visionary leadership” in developing the Estates at St. George, suggesting there must be premier services at every level including care of the elderly.
Bradshaw said Sagicor Life Inc. has consequently invested substantially in this training process and in so doing, has not only considered the needs of its project, but the development of the nursing programme at the college as well.
Sagicor has funded a trip to Canada for two BCC representatives where they were further sensitized to the auxiliary training; it has outfitted a state of the art Experiential Training Laboratory at the College, and paid for advertising the Nursing Auxiliary Studies programme.
The company has also included funding for a full-time tutor for the first cohort and painting of the entire building at the Barbados Language Centre. The laboratory will also be available for use by students at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute.
“The ultimate aim is to elevate the overall standard of elder care in Barbados,” said Bradshaw. “The NAS will run for six months and is open to persons 17 years and over. Students graduating from the programme, having gained skills in communication, anatomy and physiology, nutrition and first aid, will be the providers of service excellence in care for the adult and older adult client.”
Sagicor’s Director of Strategic Projects Edward Clarke said through the development of the new programme, Sagicor is able to create new opportunities not only from a real estate and lifestyle standpoint, but also to generate a pool of human resources to serve this section of the population, which also creates opportunities for employment and career development first in construction but then also in service delivery and nursing care when the catered living, skilled nursing and dementia care building opens.
Clarke said: “We are definitely excited to kick start this new programme at the Barbados Community College and on behalf of Sagicor I would like to thank everyone involved in the great deal of work that has been done to ensure a successful start during these very difficult times.
“We look forward to the results and we expect that many Barbadians will take advantage of the excellent training that will be provided here during the Nursing Auxiliary programme, we know that the skills they acquire will be to the benefit of all.” (AH)