Government started two days of talks today with Adtalem Global Education, the parent group of Chamberlain University and Ross University School of Medicine, aimed at establishing a school of nursing in Barbados and enhancing training opportunities here.
The meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre brings together representatives of the Adtalem Group and officials of the Ministries of Health and Wellness, and Education, Technological and Vocational Training.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, in his opening remarks, said that the discussions were critical to the realization of Government’s vision to make Barbados a hub for medical and dental education in the region.
It is also envisaged that the island would become a centre of excellence in the delivery of healthcare services.
He noted: “Critical to the realization of that vision is the whole question of nursing and the availability of nurses, not only quantitatively, but qualitatively in the various areas of specialty.”
Acknowledging the nursing shortage and the loss of nurses to metropolitan countries, the minister contended that this should not be viewed as a challenge but rather as an opportunity – “an opportunity to supply a demand that is required so that all that we do in education and training, in my view, must be geared towards satisfying that demand”.
He said that he believed Barbados had the capacity to train as many nurses as were required, both locally and internationally.
Stressing the importance of creating a pool of specialist nurses, Minister Bostic said: “We must reach a point where we have specialist nurses in all areas of specialty that can be utilized here on island and that can be exported in terms of their services and skills.”
He also expressed the hope that issues related to the failure rate of Barbadian nurses in the regional examination would be examined at the meeting, and solutions found.
The Health and Wellness Minister said that the need for trained nurses and nursing specialists would become even more urgent as Barbados implemented recent policy decisions related to free health care for CARICOM nationals living in Barbados, as well as contingent rights for CARICOM skilled nationals.