By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
TWENTY-FOUR high school students completed the Nursing Cadet Programme at the Grand Bahama Health Services this week bringing an end to several weeks of training at the Rand Memorial Hospital.
The group of students are anticipated to enter the nursing profession in the Bahamas, which is currently experiencing a nursing crisis due to the retirement of nurses in the country, and the global demand for nurses.
In Grand Bahama alone, the public health care system is short of some 55 registered nurses, according to Principal Nursing Officer Cherlyn Bain.
The nurse cadet programme was introduced over a decade ago to attract and recruit more young people to the profession to address the nursing shortage.
Students from various high schools on Grand Bahama reported every Tuesday to the Rand to gain hands on experience and training. The candidates learned how to take vitals, and the fundamentals of patient health care.
Ms Bain said that cadets are encouraged to obtain a Bachelors degree in Nursing by enrolling at the University of The Bahamas.
She noted that nursing grants are available for students enrolled in the UB nursing programme, and that their tuition is paid by Ministry of Health.
“Right here in Grand Bahama, we are short of about 55 registered nurses and I will tell you why. Health (which is a part of your theme), providing health care for all encompasses not only health care delivery in the hospitals, but also in the various clinics, at home and the schools. Because of that, we want to make sure that we deliver quality health care to persons throughout the community. That is what National Health Insurance is all about and for us to meet the people where they are; I need qualified nurses to do so,” she said.
Dr Christine Higgs, Ed.D., RM at the University of the Bahamas, delivered the keynote address on Thursday at the programme’s closing ceremony. She said that nurses play an important role in healthcare and patient care.
Ms Higgs noted that the patients’ needs and the healthcare environment have become more complex, and nurses are required to deliver high quality care.
“Although the world has changed, nursing values have not changed. As nurses we know that compassionate care delivered with courage, commitment, and competence is our…highest priority,” she said.
“It is the rock on which the code of ethics the International Council of Nursing standards are built on,” she added.
She indicated that technology now also plays an important role in assisting nurses in caring for patients, in terms of measuring vital signs, monitoring the need for more exercise, evaluating nutritional status and assessing medication intake.
Dr Higgs stated that there is need for nurse leaders in the profession. She noted that while nurses are educated and trained to do more, they are challenged by other members of the health team.
She told the cadets that they must strive to be future leaders in the nursing profession. She also reminded them that they must remember the C’s of nursing- compassionate care that is provided through commitment, courage, competencies.
Dr Higgs warned that they will encounter some gaps in their quest to provide health care.
“Through those Cs… you can close the gap of health and healing by practising in ways which prevent avoidable illness, protect health, and promote well-being and resilience.
“When you close the gap of health and wellbeing, you have better outcomes. Another gap to close is the gap of care and quality. You may do this by practising in ways that provide safe evidence-based care which maximizes the choice of patients.”
“And the third final gap is closing the gap of funding and efficiency. You may do this practising in a way which manages resources, including time, equipment, and referrals. When you do this, you achieve better resources,” she said.