Without the Registered Nurses Programme there can be no offering of the Bachelors of Science Degree Nursing (BSN) programme at the University of Guyana. This was disclosed by Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr Emmanuel Cummings, when he addressed a gathering at a ceremony to honour 27 nurses who recently completed the nursing degree programme at the local university.
The ceremony was held at the Guyana Nurses Association Hall located at 178 Charlotte and Alexander Streets, Georgetown.
In a compact but detailed presentation, Dr Cummings, disclosed that the university is pleased with the BSN programme and will continue to support it. However, the programme could be in jeopardy if enough tutors are not available to teach the Registered Nurses Programme from which candidates are drawn for the Bachelor’s programme.
Dr Cummings said that in order to pursue the BSN programme candidates must have completed the two years of the RN programme as the university does not have the capacity at present to facilitate a four-year syllabus.
Having been involved in a period of consultation with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to assess the capacity of the local nursing schools, Dr Cummings said that some deficiencies have been uncovered. Although not willing to divulge the content of the resulting report, the Dean sought to encourage the graduate nurses to contribute to the development of the RN programme in recognition of the deficiencies that have been uncovered. And while the Ministry of Health has been putting measures in place to address the tutoring shortfall, graduates are being urged to offer some level of teaching service.
Meanwhile, in order to raise the quality of the BSN programme, Dr Cummings revealed that measures are already in place to have the nursing programme accredited. This means that an assessment will be done to ensure that the programme offered is of a good quality. However, according to the Dean, the process of accreditation is very expensive and challenging thus will require support from the Department of Public Health, the Nurses Association among other stakeholders.
And once the accreditation process is completed, the BSN programme is likely to become the second programme offered by the local university to be fully accredited. The only accredited programme currently offered is the Bachelors of Science Degree Medicine programme, according to Dr Cummings.
Having been encouraged to help improve the local nursing programme, the nurses were honoured for their achievement. Among those honoured were best graduating student Sonja Willis, Afesha Leacock, Glynda McAllister, Joyce Phillips, Afesha Leacock, Candace John, Leona Birch and Wanda Braithwaithe. The graduands were all in receipt of a badge, as a tribute from Mr Michael Khan, Chief Executive Officer of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. However, June Daniels who was rated the best practicing midwife and Beverly Wilson the best practicing nurse in primary health care received the Gail Teixeira Award and the Gloria Noel Award respectively.
The Guyana Nurses Association (GNA) award ceremony commenced in the 1980’s to recognise outstanding contributions of nurses and their commitment to the nurses’ body. This event usually took place during the anniversary celebrations of the GNA in the month of August with the issuing of certificates to outstanding members. In the years following, other awards were included.
In 1994, Mrs Gloria Noel, the first Principal Nursing Officer of Guyana, established an award for the most outstanding nurse in public health. Subsequently, Ms Gail Teixeira, former Minister of Health, during her tenure was concerned about maternity care and sought to reduce the incidence of maternal mortality at the local public hospitals. In 1996, she established an award for the most outstanding midwife practicing at a public hospital.
There were some gaps in the hosting of the award ceremonies until the advent of the Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing at the University of Guyana. Since the first group of nurses graduated in 2004, the GNA sought to ensure that the award ceremony became an annual feature with the graduands being the central focus of the award ceremony.
During the years 2004 through 2007, the award ceremonies were held during November or December. In 2008, a decision was taken to set a statutory date for this function and the fourth Saturday of January was chosen.
Yesterday’s ceremony honoured the largest batch of nurses to have graduated from the BSN programme and saw the attendance of several senior nurses within the public health system. Also in attendance was Ms Nicole Jordan, Programme Director of FXB, who presented a keynote address.
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