Of the 179 students who were required to re-sit the 2016 State Final Nurses examination last month a mere 23 passed all segments of the examination. This means that although a number of the students passed some segments of the examination, the majority of them will have to re-sit at least three of the five segments of the examination if they are to eventually achieve the goal of becoming professional nurses.
The aspects of the examination that most of the candidates were required to pass on this occasion were Functional Nursing Paper 1; Functional Nursing Paper 11; Clinical Nursing Paper 1, Clinical Nursing Paper 11 and Practical.
Based on the raw data seen by this publication, the Georgetown School of Nursing, which entered the most candidates (74), secured a total of nine overall passes in all aspects of the examination. A further seven candidates of the same nursing school were required to only re-sit one or two aspects of the examination suggesting that they had passed the other segments previously.
Of the 43 New Amsterdam Nursing School candidates, three passed all aspects of the examination while two others passed one segment each, again suggesting that they had passed the other segments at an earlier sitting.
The St. Joseph Mercy Hospital recorded two overall passes among its 16 candidates. There were, however, no overall passes secured by candidates of the Charles Roza Nursing School in Linden.
This publication was informed that while the raw data suggest an appalling state of affairs, it is not clear whether the Ministry of Education which was tasked with preparing, administering and marking the examination would have applied the requisite formula to determine the actual performance of each individual candidate.
“There are instances when the raw data might show that a candidate did not do so well and another candidate doing very well but when the formula is applied the results could be very different,” an official explained.
The Ministry of Education was given the responsibility of dealing with the examination since there were allegations that the original examination, which was administered in October of last year, was leaked. It was believed too that the leaking of examination was the doing of official(s) within the Guyana Nursing Council.
The Council has over the years been the mandated body to prepare, administer and mark the examination. There are reports that suggest that persons within the Council have for years been involved in the unscrupulous act of leaking examination papers ahead of the actual sittings.
Following its own investigation, the Ministry of Public Health had called in the Guyana Police Force to conduct an investigation into the allegations made in October of last year following the sitting of the State Finals.
Former Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, had noted that those found culpable will have to face the court of law. But to date there have been no reports of an arrest in this matter.
It is believed that the Nursing Council had no hand in the marking of the examination which candidates were required to re-sit on February 21, last.
“Atrocious,” is how one official described the results of the examination. But the official, who is close to the operation of the Ministry of Public Health, revealed that the daunting number of passes is in fact not a novel development but rather has been a protracted state of affairs.
This is in spite of deliberate moves, over the past few years, to ensure that the candidates, entering the system have an acceptable level of qualifications.
Prior to this, this publication was informed that candidates were accepted with little to no qualifications and were offered remedial classes simultaneous with the regular nursing programme sessions.
This publication was reliably informed that efforts were made to ensure that persons seeking to undertake the Nursing Assistant programme had to have no less than three Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) subjects, inclusive of English Language, while those aspiring to become Professional Nurses were required to have at least five CXC passes inclusive of Mathematics, English Language and a Science subject. There are however reports that the Ministry was accepting a small number of students without Mathematics from interior locations. “It is a fallacy that the nursing students are not adequately qualified,” said the official.
It was revealed to this publication that “the Ministry has consistently increased the bar for those seeking to enter the nursing programme. Other than those entering the Nursing Assistant programme, the majority of students entering the professional nursing programme have between five to eight CXC subjects with good grades…so this problem is not for the want of good grades,” the official asserted.
“There is something more troubling that is happening and it is not just something wrong with the students…This is far reaching because there has been significant improvement in quality of intake of students for a number of years…I think people have to start paying more attention to what happens in the classroom,” the official noted.
According to reports that have reached this publication, the last time that the Ministry had seen more daunting performances at a State Final Examination was in 2010. The results on that occasion, according to the official, were “disastrous…This whole thing has been a vicious cycle.”
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