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Great difficulties with group of nursing students, says McKie

Great difficulties with group of nursing students, says McKie


Minister of Health Cecil McKie has admitted that there were “great difficulties” with the group of Nursing students expected to graduate next June.{{more}}

Last Thursday, while answering a question in Parliament, McKie said that he was not prepared to state what the difficulties were, but said that the Government needed to look at certain aspects of the administration of the Nursing programme.

“Mr. Speaker, we had great difficulties with this batch of nurses, and, for reasons that I will not state here, I think we have to look at certain aspects of the administration of that programme as we go forward,” he said.

Of the 60 students who began their programme in 2008, four dropped out by the end of 2009; 20 failed; two resigned, and an additional two dropped out, McKie said.

McKie, in his response to a question posed by opposition Parliamentarian Daniel Cummings, gave an overview of the programme, saying that since its inception in 2003, some 520 students were accepted, of which 199 dropped out; 250 graduated, and 20 have met the graduation requirement and will be writing the regional Nursing examination this month.

He gave detailed accounts of each batch, beginning in 2003:

In the batch 2003 to 2006, McKie explained that there were 118 applicants; 118 interviewed; 104 accepted; 40 dropped out and 64 graduated.

In the 2004 to 2007 batch, 126 persons applied; 126 were interviewed; 100 accepted; 20 dropped out and 80 graduated.

2005 to 2008: 101 persons applied; 101 interviewed; 86 accepted; 18 dropped out; 68 graduated.

The students in the 2006 batch started their training in 2007, because there were fewer than 50 persons accepted, McKie explained.

2007 to 2010: 104 applied; 104 interviewed; 44 accepted; 6 dropped out and 38 graduated.

2008 to 2011: 110 applied; 80 interviewed; 60 accepted; 26 dropped out and the graduation is set for 2012.

2009 to 2012: 108 applied; 63 interviewed; 49 accepted; 26 dropped out; graduation expected in 2013.

2010 to 2013: 107 applied; 97 interviewed; 63 accepted; 3 dropped out, with graduation expected in 2014.

According to the Minister of Health, there were a number of reasons for the dropouts, including resignations, abandonment, pregnancy, illness, migration, and failure of exams.

“Some students never returned after orientation, some found other employment, some were demoted due to pregnancy or failure,” he explained.

McKie said that the Government has employed 162 of the 250 nurses who graduated from the programme, with 85 finding jobs overseas, including 60 in Barbados.

There are three nurses still awaiting jobs here, and, according to the minister, they will be employed soon.

He noted that 160 applications were received for the most recent batch.

“Nursing continues to be one of the careers in demand, not just here, but regionally and across the world,” McKie said.

“And it is for this reason why the training aspect is going to be critical going forward,” he continued.

McKie said he recently had discussions with the Minister of Health of Trinidad and Tobago who indicated that they may have as many as 2,000 nursing vacancies in that CARICOM territory.

“They have, in fact, made a request for us to help them in providing more nurses, as we already have done,” he said.

McKie mentioned that he met with the 60 Vincentian nurses currently pursuing the Bachelor’s degree in Cuba, saying that they were doing well. He further contended that these nurses will be put to good use on their return. (DD)