Categorized | National News

Nursing Cadet Numbers Soar

Increased enrollment in the Nursing Cadet Programme over the past four years has significantly boosted the country’s shoddy nurse count, according to healthcare officials.

One hundred and sixty 10th to 12th grade students from the public and private secondary school systems in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera, enrolled in the Nursing Cadet Programme during the past 2011-2012 school year – the largest enrollment class – since the programme was restructured in 2008.

“The single-largest group of healthcare professionals in the country is nurses. They continue to be an integral component of the healthcare sector,” Minister of Health Dr. Perry Gomez said.

“However, there are not enough and there will be continued emphasis on the recruitment, training and retention of nurses in the Ministry of Health.”

The Nursing Cadet Programme is the main strategy for the recruitment of nurses.

The programme targets senior high school students who are interested in pursuing nursing as a career and exposes them to the basic functions, activities, skills and practices of nurses in the clinical setting at the Princess Margaret Hospital, and within the community clinics where they get an opportunity “to learn from professionals within the healthcare system who could assist them in achieving the goal of becoming qualified registered nurses.”

“Almost 150 years ago, hospitals and some physicians (worldwide) saw women in nursing as a source of free or inexpensive labour and exploitation was not uncommon by nurses employers, physicians and educational providers who also discouraged formal ‘book learning,’” said Camille Johnson, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health.

“Nowadays, participants in the Nursing Cadet Programme in The Bahamas have the option of entering The College of The Bahamas for a four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a guaranteed job, and a profession that will serve them well for the remainder of their lives if they choose to remain in it.”

Twenty four 12th grade students from public and private secondary schools in those aforementioned islands recently graduated from the programme as nursing cadets with the hopes of moving into the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Programme at The College of The Bahamas.

Suitably qualified participants of the Nursing Cadet Programme receive direct entry into the Bachelor of Science programme at The College of The Bahamas, a four-year program that is funded by the Ministry of Health through the Nurse Education Grant.

The students are also provided a monthly stipend of $475 for a minimum of 12 credits each semester and are guaranteed a job upon graduation in a profession that has been called “recession proof” by health officials.

The Ministry of Health, through the Public Hospitals Authority, also provides housing for a limited number of successful participants from Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.

Full-time students at the College who are Bahamians, possess a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or above and are in possession of the minimum requirements can also qualify for the Nurse Education Grant.

Completion of all college preparatory classes is also one of the requirements. Students must additionally demonstrate financial need.

“During this period, additional arrangements have been made for the financial support of 30 nurses during their internship period in the last year of their course of study. They will be paid a salary of $10,200 per annum,” Dr. Gomez said.

“The graduation class of nurses hails from the islands of New Providence, Grand Bahama, and the southern and central islands of The Bahamas. These nurses will sit the Nursing Council’s Final Examination for Registration in November, 2012 and will subsequently be assigned to the Department of Public Health and the Public Hospitals Authority.”

Permanent Secretary Johnson said “only good things” can come from choosing nursing as a profession.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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