Plans are afoot for the development of the local nursing profession. According to the then Minister of Health, National Insurance and Social Security, Dr. David Estwick “the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is moving to take the nursing profession forward with the development of nursing specialty areas that would build career paths for nurses while enhancing overall health care delivery”.
Dr.Estwick revealed that there were two positions “under active consideration” within the nursing field – Nurse Consultant and Nurse Practitioner. “The Nurse Practitioner would be competent to run polyclinics, provide care in hospitals, schools and in clients’ homes.
The Nurse Consultant would function as a clinical specialist and be managing advanced nursing care to improve patient outcomes,” he outlined.
He added that the QEH had budgeted for eight persons to be trained during the next financial year as Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Consultant and also as diabetes specialists. Dr. Estwick pointed out that “in time, registered nurses with post-graduate qualifications in a specialty area will be promoted to these positions.
“The Ministry is cognizant of the fact that there are some nurses trained in specialty areas who are not working in their field…..We are also aware of the view that such persons should be given every opportunity to utilize their training,” he said.
Speaking as Health Minister last Saturday, Dr. Estwick added that the Nurses Act, 2008 and the Nurses Rules, 2008 are set to “come into force in the very near future and will bring about further change”.
Pointing to further proposed changes, Dr. Estwick listed lowering the enrolment age for student nurses, from 18 to 16 years; the provision for a new category of nurse, the graduate nurse, and creation of the new Nursing Auxiliary.