Regional Nursing body discusses meeting challenges and adapting to global trends

JNF General Hospital St. Kitts

St. Kitts, February 28, 2010 (SKNIS): Meeting the challenges as well as global trends were at the forefront of discussions undertaken when the Executive, Education Committees and Seventh Practice Committees of the Regional Nursing Body (RNB) met in St. Kitts over the past three days (February 24 to 26, 2010).

Principal Nursing Officer Mrs. Henrietta Douglas-Christmas stressed that “The nursing profession faces unprecedented change, driven by globalization, migration and aging populations, the HIV/AIDS Pandemic and changes in nursing education and practice.” She elaborated that the meeting was to share knowledge, expertise, experience and creativity so that nurses would be better equipped to address the issues impacting the health of the region.

After thanking the government and people of the Federation for coming to the aid of the august body by hosting the meeting, Chairman of the RNB Dr. Leila McWhinney-Dehaney addressed the issue at hand.

“Nursing and midwifery services are going through changing and challenging times but like all people of resilience and all nations that have gone through struggles, the phoenix always rises out of the ashes,” Dr. McWhinney-Dehaney philosophized. “So we will plod on.”

The nursing professional, who is also the Chief Nursing Officer of Jamaica, said that RNB first met December 04, 1972 in Guyana. She said at that very first meeting nursing officers planned and devised strategies and identified resources for the advancement of all areas of nursing and midwifery in the region.

Dr. Dehaney said that in keeping with current trends, the meeting addressed such issues as the regional examination for nurse registration, the accreditation of nursing schools in the region, developing a regional framework for nursing and midwifery for 2010 to 2013, programmes to address the care of the elderly and developing curriculum in terms of the management of HIV/AIDS.

New Minister of Health Honourable Marcella Liburd encouraged modification to keep up with modern trends.

“Continue to be the leaders of innovative practices, continue to be the voice of nurses,” Minister Liburd encouraged. She urged RNB to be “a compelling voice in the region in designing the new health care system in the landscape of nursing in the Caribbean region and beyond.” The Minister of Health also invited the body to critique the St. Kitts and Nevis Health Plan noting that it was important for health policies and practice to be guided by the best available scientific knowledge.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mr. Elvis Newton noted that the challenges faced by the nurses could be within the education aspect itself.

He encouraged the RNB to probe the education provided to the region’s nurses and noted that challenges faced locally and elsewhere included the influx of off-shore nursing schools which often challenge nursing practices where they are situated.

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