??President of the Barbados Nurses Association (BNA), Mrs. Blondelle Mullin (left) honouring Patron Lt. Colonel (Retired) Florence Gittens for her strength of character and contribution to nursing in Barbados.?? The installation was made during the BNA’s Appreciation Dinner at Acca Beach Hotel and Resort, Saturday May 14. (Clifton Henry/BGIS)

Training is now mandatory for all nursing auxiliaries interested in working within private senior citizens’ homes.

This was stressed recently by Chief Nursing Officer, Mitchell Clarke, as he addressed the Appreciation Dinner of the Barbados Nurses Association (BNA), at Accra Beach Hotel.

Disclosing that the Ministry of Health had been faced with challenges arising from complaints about the quality of nursing care within some of these health care facilities, he said: "The Nurses Act 2008 now makes it mandatory for anyone seeking employment at such establishments, and also any government institution to undergo a course of study provided by an educational institution for the training of nursing auxiliaries which must be approved by the Nursing Council of Barbados.?? The training, he stated, would be for a period of at least six months.

Mr. Clarke revealed, however, that the Nursing Council, through the hard work of its education committee had, to date, approved four institutions for the conducting of the nursing auxiliary course. He noted too that the Council had enrolled over 1500 persons as nursing auxiliaries.

The Chief Nursing Officer also commended the BNA for its commitment to educating its members as well as non-members and pointed out that this was not only in respect of seminars but financial support.?? He observed: "…You also provide financial assistance to your members for formal academic preparation… your dedication to education has encouraged a growing number of nurses to pursue ongoing learning."

The Health Ministry’s role in the area of training nursing specialists was also noted and Mr. Clarke explained: "Presently, a curriculum in Geriatric Nursing is being developed and it is envisaged that training in the specialty will commence sometime in the academic year 2011-2012." He, however, expressed the hope that some nurses would see it fit to undergo training as health economists.

The Chief Nursing Officer also had a word of caution for senior nurse managers. He pointed out that on a daily basis he, along with the Chief Public Health Nurse and her deputy, were inundated with calls from nurses "enquiring about obtaining employment in polyclinics". And, he added: "Nurses who are not happy in the environment in which they work will seek to work in other areas and if they have reached the minimum criteria for retirement they will retire.

Therefore, it is incumbent on nurse managers to create an environment that your nurses would want to come to and feel welcome."

The BNA Appreciation Dinner also saw the installation of Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Florence Gittens as patron of the BNA. ??She was honoured for her strength of character and contribution to nursing.

The event was one activity to mark Nurses Week, which runs from May 12 to 18. Barbados has joined with over 130 nurses associations representing more than 13 million nurses worldwide,?? in honouring nurses and recognising the important role they play in formulating health policy, maintaining a healthy workplace and remaining closest to the patient. (JG/BGIS)



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