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More men taking up nursing profession in SVG

More men taking up nursing profession in SVG

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For decades, the nursing profession has been one in which very few men in St Vincent and the Grenadines have shown interest.{{more}}

However, statistics from the Division of Nursing of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College indicate that over the past six years, interest by men, in the profession, has been growing.

In 2007, there were five male applicants to the School of Nursing. In 2008, two and in 2009, there was one applicant. The applications increased in 2010 to three, with four being received in 2011, and six in 2012.

Applications for 2013 are still being processed, deputy dean of the Division of Nursing Sister Beverly Liverpool said.

“We are happy that there has been an increase in the number of males entering the profession because we want to move away from that traditional female dominated thing about nursing,” Liverpool told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview last Friday.

She stated that while numbers are not of the highest and could be better, the fact that more males are applying is a step in the right direction.

Liverpool, who has worked at the School of Nursing at Largo Heights for the past 13 years, explained that in the past, they had to try hard to attract secondary school graduates to the profession, “but within the last five years or so, the application rate went up.

“They are really showing interest in the nursing profession I must say…

“I don’t know if it’s because now avenues are opening up in both the regional and international for our local nurses and in terms of salary, given the economic times we’re in, nursing is still one of the better paying jobs,” she added.

SEARCHLIGHT on Friday also spoke to two male nurses, both of whom are in their final year of studies.

Former student of the St Vincent Grammar School and Arnos Vale resident Tafari Jeffrey is pursuing studies as a nurse anesthetist.

“I chose to join nursing because, honestly at the time, I was unemployed and had nothing else to do and I said let me try nursing and to this day I have no regrets.”

Jeffrey describes his time in his new profession as “rewarding” and at the same time “challenging”.

“From the inception right up until now we’ve been working assiduously, but at the end of the day I can leave, knowing that I am better prepared to assist those in need of medical aid.

“Being a male nurse is a rewarding experience and I will like to encourage other males to not just look at it only as a female profession, because the females they need us as much as we need them and we bring something totally new and different to the table. And we’re just as good as or even better than the females,” Jeffrey stated.

The student nurse said that the nursing profession here is of a high quality, given that they have to work with limited resources.

“Vincentian nurses are geniuses when it comes to improvising and reinventing”, he said.

Meanwhile, Preston Mercury said his desire is to become a medical doctor, but because of limited finances, he decided to pursue studies leading to qualifications as a Forensic nurse.

Mercury, also a former student of the St Vincent Grammar School, told SEARCHLIGHT that his first impression of nursing was that “it’s a feminine profession.”

Being a student nurse for the past three years, the Georgetown resident says the experience gained has given him a sense of growth, in terms of helping him realize that men can also do this job.

“There are a lot of opportunities as a nurse,” Mercury said.

“If you want to move on further into the medical field, like the doctor I wanted, and still intend to become, it then takes [fewer] years to complete one’s studies,” the young man added.

“I know sometimes we work under limited resources, but apart from that, we are privileged to have a medical system that is free in most cases. Some of the things we get free, like vaccines and so on here, are costly in other countries.

“We’re just a developing country trying to make it and no profession should be classed as male or female gender, once the job can be done,” Mercury stated.

Formal nursing education in St Vincent and the Grenadines dates back to the early 1950’s. It was first conducted at the then Colonial Hospital, now the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Classes later moved to the Nurses Hostel on the Road to Leeward.

In 1975, the Matron ceased to be the Administrative Head and greater autonomy was achieved under the administration of a Senior Nursing Officer/Education (SNO).

In 1977, the School of Nursing moved to its present location at Largo Heights. (AA)

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