JIS News

The Ministry of Health and Environment is committed to working with national and regional nursing bodies for the development of the services provided by the sector.
This assurance was given by Portfolio Minister Rudyard Spencer this morning (Jan. 28), at the opening of the 37th joint meeting of the executive, education and practice committees of the regional nursing body, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
To this end, he said, the Ministry intends to improve the monitoring and oversight of nurses in the public health sector, and has put forward a proposal for the strengthening of the office of the chief nurse, to ensure that the office is appropriately supported to carry out its mandate in the areas of public nursing.
In addition, he informed that the Ministry will be moving forward expeditiously to improve the optimisation of health workers, so that some categories of nurses may be given prescriptive authority. This measure, he said, may require some legislative amendment to the Nurses and Midwives Act.
Turning to training and recruitment, Mr. Spencer told the audience that, “we are now reviewing and developing the curriculum for supporting personnel to nurses. This will see us training and recruiting over 390 community health aids, over a three-year period. We began orientation for 175 nurses in the public health sector…they completed their courses of training and were successful in the regional examination”.
He noted that this examination will also ensure the standardisation of care delivery, and facilitate the mobility of nursing personnel across the Caribbean, in keeping with the vision of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
The Health Minister congratulated the regional body for the development of a strategic plan for nursing for 2008 to 2011. “I commend you for the focus that is placed on nursing education, quality documentation of regional policies, and the establishment of regional networking in nursing and midwives education,” he stated.
Some of the issues that are being discussed at the forum are: accreditation; the establishment of the regional network of nursing and personnel; early childhood development and the contribution that the nursing sector plays in this sector; gender; and a strategic action plan on the way forward.
Participating in the three-day meeting are delegates from Jamaica and 12 other CARICOM countries, comprising: Anguilla, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.