Held under the theme ‘Future Nurses: Providing Health for All,’ 24 nursing cadets, all females, from various high schools on the island successfully completed this year’s Public Hospitals Authority GBHS and Ministry of Health Nursing Cadet Programme, giving them first-hand knowledge of the exciting and rewarding career field of nursing.
The 2018/2019 Nursing Cadet Programme closing ceremony was held yesterday – Thursday, May 16 – in the foyer of the Rand Memorial Hospital.
GBHS, Principal Nursing Officer Cherlyn Bain brought remarks on behalf of the GBHS, in the absence of Hospital Administrator Sharon Williams.
She noted that the Nursing Cadet Programme was started over a decade ago with the main purpose of sensitizing young persons, students whether public or private, to the culture of nursing in The Bahamas, in a controlled environment.
“This was actually birthed from the Ministry of Health and there are some fringe benefits that I will mention for those that have completed and decide to go into nursing as a life long profession.
“The main benefit is to have participants of this programme, upon completion of the BSN, the level we are now at, at the University of The Bahamas, enroll, complete and register with the Nursing Council and then enjoy some of the benefits that are afforded.
“As a UB student, the entire tuition will be paid by the Ministry of Health, which we call a Nursing Grant and so I need all of you to be enrolled,” encouraged Bain.
“We know that college tuition can be very expensive for some, but we are talking about a four-year programme, right here in The Bahamas. Our nursing programme in The Bahamas is second to none in the world,” said Bain.
“It is an understatement to announce that the number of registered nurses, in particular, is a global challenge and The Bahamas is no exception.
“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.
“The Government of The Bahamas took a proactive step by establishing such a program like this, and, as I foresaid, it will be fully funded, upon completion of the Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing,
“Graduates of this Cadets Programme take this opportunity and make bold decisions to enroll and have a voice to change the health care delivery system of your country, and also in nursing in this country.
“Health is our patients’ right and should be the right of all patients. That right should be inclusive and not exclusive. I entreat all of you to remain focused and stay aligned to divine purpose and destiny by allowing room for good decision making and more so, to choose nursing as a profession,” concluded Bain.
Guest speaker, part time Nursing Counselor, University of The Bahamas Northern Campus, Dr. Christine Higgs, Ed.D., RM shared with the cadets, “We are in a dynamic, changing world; a world that is changing from the aspect of the environment, economically, by means of social tenures as well as technologically. The world is changing from that which our grandparents and parents inhabited. Because of the rapid changing pace it is hard to perceive what the future might look like.
“Though the world has changed, nursing values have not changed. As nurses, we know that compassionate care delivered with courage, commitment and competence is our established and highest priority, and it is the rock on which our code of ethics, the International Council of Nursing Standards are built.”
She continued, “Technology will assist us in caring for our clients, young ladies, by measuring vital signs, monitoring the need for more exercise, evaluating our nutritional status and assessing our medication intake.
“One of the things that you need to do as we go along is to prepare yourselves to meet purpose through nursing education. During the past four decades, the health care delivery system has changed and so has the education and the role of nurses, in particular, there have been changes where nurses do have a voice to lead and yes, this voice comes with challenges from other health care workers.
“While nurses are educated and trained to do more, they are challenged by other members of the health team. However, given the great need for more affordable care, and as you are preparing to provide, you will be the leaders to expand this larger role of nurses within the health care system, both in delivering care and in decision making strategies.
“As our work changes are occurring, we are further challenged that our values remain aligned, recognized and respected,” added Higgs.
Following her address, the cadets were all presented with their certificates and awards for successfully completing this year’s Nursing Cadet Programme
Cadet Keyandra Martin thanked all involved in the programme and those who made it such an enlightening experience for herself and her peers. “The Nursing Cadets you see here today aspire to be agents of change. We are the future nurses of the Public Hospitals Authority of the Grand Bahama Health Services.”