Nursing Program at BCC Falling Short
The blogmaster can recall that in 2010 former Minister of Health Donville Inniss announced a plan to change the nursing program at the Barbados Community College (BCC). The objective was to ensure that Barbados responded to a shortage of nurses.
Who remembers the public outcry when nurses from the Philippines and elsewhere were recruited at the QEH? The underlying reason for the shortage was that student nurses were failing the Regional Examination for Nurse Registration. Inniss indicated that a committee would be setup to come up with recommendations to address the issue.
Some of the recommendations reported in the media:-
- Admission requirements and student intake – no more than 80 students should be admitted annually over the next three years. This would be reviewed at the end of the period.
- Admission should be considered at three levels – academic requirements, entrance level/proficiency test, and aptitude assessment.
- All tutors should participate in clinical activities, and a comprehensive examination should be reinstated.
- The Nursing Council of Barbados has evaluated the General Nursing Programme and has submitted its report to stakeholders,” said Inniss as he listed the changes.
Source: Nation newspaper – Changes for nurse training
In February 2019 Minister of Health Jefferey Bostic was reported in the press that he will be asking for a meeting with the Minister of Health to review the course work at BCC because of a high fail rate by nurses completing the regional examination. The minister’s position is supported by the following news column with a call to recruit nurses from overseas.
The question to our planners is – with the heavy investment in education why do we have to recruit nurses from overseas? What is so difficult about ensuring the nursing syllabus at BCC is aligned with that of the Regional Examination for Nurse Registration?
QEH to look abroad for nurses
Henderson Pinder, Director of Nursing Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
personnel are coming from that institution, Pinder said.
“The Barbados Community College and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have a partnership in which Barbados Community College offers aspiring nurses with the educational framework to pursue a career in nursing, and the QEH provides BCC nursing students and graduates with internship and job opportunities.”
“However, although many nursing students go on to attain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the Barbados Community College, many fail to pass Regional Examination for Nursing Registration (RENR). This is a matter which we need to urgently rectify to increase the number of registered nurses available on island.”
Chairman of the QEH’s Board of Management, Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland said: “We also recognize that we retain nurses who work at the QEH by making them feel more valued, recognizing their contribution and addressing matters such as salary, conditions of work, benefits and staff amenities. The Government has committed to providing for upward mobility of nurses as specialist nurses and the QEH will be working closely with the Barbados Nurses Association and Nursing Council to achieve this goal.”
Given the shortage of nurses, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital plans to look overseas.
Director of Nursing Services at QEH, Henderson Pinder, said it was necessary to ensure the continued, safe, patientcentred delivery of nursing services, especially in the Accident and Emergency (A& E) Department.
The need to look outside for nurses has been compounded by those interested in the profession but failed examinations at the regional level after successfully gaining their Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing from the Barbados Community College (BCC).
“Unfortunately, there are not enough critical care trained nurses in Barbados to meet the QEH’s staffing needs. As such, in an effort to fill the establishment, we’ve expanded the search for critical care trained nurses to other jurisdictions,” Pinder told the Sunday Sun.
Nurses are being recruited from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and the Philippines.
Pinder noted the QEH has been continuously trying to improve the quality of nurses, and recently 29 completed the highly-rated Canadian Triage Acuity Scale (CTAS) training programme. A second cohort of nurses is to benefit from similar training .
In spite of the shortage, the QEH continues to maintain standards which allows it to deal with the dozens of emergency cases which flow through the heavily trafficked A & E Department, Pinder said.
“The nurses of the Accident and Emergency Department are able to provide an excellent standard of care despite the large number of persons who present to the department,” Pinder noted. “In instances when the number of persons who require care overwhelms the A& E’s staff complement, additional staff is deployed to the department and various other surge staffing measures are employed. Even on these occasions, the care given to our patients meets and surpasses the standards of practice for patient care.”
The lack of nurses on an annual basis casts the spotlight on the facility’s ability to draw from the BCC special programme, as it is clear not enough Fail exam
By Barry Alleyne barryalleyne @nationnews.com @barry_nationbb