Nurse sees Jamaica/UK programme as major opportunity

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

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FOR registered nurse (RN) Tasheika Hewitt, participation in the Jamaica/United Kingdom (UK) Critical Care Nursing Programme is an opportunity of a lifetime to develop indispensable skills in caring for patients with high-dependency and life-threatening conditions.

“From this training programme I know I will [learn to] be able to care for my patients more competently and effectively,” Hewitt told JIS News at the opening ceremony of the programme at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) on October 29.

Hewitt, who is assigned to National Chest Hospital in St Andrew, is among 12 nurses specially selected from across the island for the one-year programme, designed to adequately train and certify nurses in the much-needed specialisation of critical care.

Under the programme, the nurses will spend the first seven months in Jamaica training in the specialisation, before leaving to spend the remaining five months in the UK, where they will prepare to sit clinical examinations. They will also be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the UK.

While overseas, training will be done at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, one of the largest teaching institutions in Europe.

A regional and national centre for specialist treatment, the hospital has a world-renowned biomedical research facility and a leading clinical research unit.

The hospital also provides access to providers of some of the UK's leading clinical expertise and the most advanced technology in the world.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the programme is a response to the shortage of nurses in key areas of Jamaica's public health system.

They include critical care, nephrology, accident and emergency, paediatric, neonatology, operating theatre, psychiatry and midwifery.

It is also similar to the bilateral programme between Jamaica and China to train critical care nurses.

Dr Tufton explained that both the Jamaica/China and Jamaica/UK bilateral programmes have “more than doubled the capacity of critical care training for nurses”.

He said the programme demonstrates that the Government is approaching public health “infrastructure and capacity-building in a manner that sees partnership as the way of the future”.

“A nurse that goes through this programme will be as qualified and as competent, as they will get full exposure to a Jamaican environment and another environment — which will make you a better person and nurse,” the minister said.

For RN Monique Patrick, attached to May Pen Hospital in Clarendon, the training programme will expand her knowledge and understanding, enabling her to work in the specialised care units and recovery rooms of any hospital, and equipping her to look after “vast numbers of patients”.

Patrick said she chose to focus on critical care because of the compassion that is associated with the job as well as the fact that it keeps her “on the ball”.

Safrania Hart-Turner, who is an RN attached to Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James, told JIS News that she is grateful for the opportunity.

She also echoed the sentiments of Patrick, noting that the training will enable her to work locally as well as overseas.

“Critical care has always been a passion of mine, especially as a nursing student. It is exciting working with different equipment. The knowledge you gain from it and just being able to help persons in such great need is a passion of mine,” she pointed out.

The programme was endorsed by president of the Nurses Association of Jamaica, Carmen Johnson, who wished the nurses well on their important journey.

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