Regional nursing conference promotes education

| 31/08/2016
CNS Local Life

(Seated, L-R) Jennifer Ahearn, Roy MacTaggart and Nester Edwards with other participants at the nursing conference

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Ministry of Health played host to a Caribbean-wide nursing conference last week, with chief nursing officers and nursing council chairs from across the region attending. The 43rd annual general meeting of the Regional Nursing Body (RNB), held 23-25 August, at which a CARICOM representative also sat in, was convened to discuss regional efforts in advancing education, practice, research and policy agendas regarding nursing and midwifery.

Health Ministry councillor Roy McTaggart gave the opening address, with greetings from Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn. Health Services Authority Chief Nursing Officer Hazel Brown also spoke to the delegates, in addition to RNB chair Nester Edwards, who is from Grenada.

Others who spoke also included representatives of Cayman’s Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Cayman Islands Nursing Association and CARICOM.

The accreditation of nursing education programmes headed the list of discussion topics addressed by delegates, as well as regional progress towards all schools of nursing within the region converting to a bachelor of science degree as the entry level to the profession.

“To protect this important progress, it is critical that we continue to strive for the accreditation of nursing education programmes throughout the Caribbean,” McTaggart said. “In the Cayman Islands, we understand the critical importance of investing in human capital, which is necessary to enable our nurses to thrive in a dynamic healthcare environment.”

He also recognised the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) nursing programme for being ahead of the curve in the Caribbean.

“I believe it is important to accredit programmes such as UCCI Nursing Programme. This initiative was formally launched three years ago, and has since opened the minds of many Caymanians to a promising career in healthcare,” he said.

“When it started in August 2013, it marked a critical point in our history, as this was the first time a bachelor of science in nursing had been offered to students in the Cayman Islands.”

McTaggart also mentioned that nursing and midwifery legislation to regulate those practices is with the legal drafting department.

The Zika virus was another topic that took centre stage, as did the call for a regional approach to combat its spread, and focus on preventative health measures.

RNB chair Edwards emphasised that all efforts should be made in the prevention of the Zika virus. She explained the need for a unified effort to control the spread of the virus, which may also lead to other fatal complications such as Guillain-Barré disease.

“In Grenada three people have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré disease and one person has died from the disease,” she said. “If we work together as a region to prevent the Zika virus, we can prevent these deadly complications.”

In addition to Cayman and Grenada, delegates at the conference represented Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and Turks and Caicos.

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Category: Medical and Health

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