Health Minister John Boyce announced today that nurses in Barbados will soon be required to undergo continuing professional education for re-registration.

Addressing a ceremony to honour nurses who successfully completed the 100 Improvements in Nursing Organisational Challenge sponsored by the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE), Mr. Boyce said that the Nursing Council was currently finalising logistics for the new requirement, which should be in place by January, 2016.

He told his audience: ???Support for renewal of registration for nurses and midwives in Barbados on presentation of evidence of continuing professional education activities is predicated on the fact that lifelong learning is an essential component of continued professional competence.???

He said that this legal requirement, provided for in the Nurses??? Act 2008, would ensure that nursing personnel remained accountable and engaged in continuous quality improvement. ???This will only serve to enhance the quality of nursing care delivered to the public,??? he added.

The Health Minister also lauded the achievements of the public health nurses in the NISE Challenge, noting that in their first year of participation, they copped both the Champion???s Award (Public Sector) and the Chairman???s Award.??The Champion???s Award recognised ???the enthusiasm, resourcefulness and energy??? of the Champion in ensuring the success of the challenge.

This award went to Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Wendy Sealy, who coordinated the participation of public health nurses across nine health care institutions, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Psychiatric Hospital, the Geriatric Hospital, district hospitals and polyclinics islandwide.

The Chairman???s Award was given to the ministry, department or agency submitting the most improvements where these improvements had the greatest impact. The Ministry of Health was also a finalist in the categories of Productivity Award ??? Medium Sized Businesses, and Personal Development Award ??? Medium Sized Businesses.

Under the 100 Improvements in Nursing Challenge, the public health institutions within the Ministry of Health submitted 139 improvements. These included the introduction of a triage room to ensure the shortest possible wait time for patients; the development of pre- and post-fall assessment tools; improved signage; the introduction of a recycling programme; the implementation of a kitchen garden programme for clients; and sponsored staff appreciation days.

Minister Boyce highlighted the fact that all these interventions were designed in-house and often required little or no funding. ???Such interventions aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing costs in health care must also be considered as key contributors in the achievement of universal access and health coverage,??? he said.

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