More than 200 hundred students are celebrating having successfully completed the state final examinations of the local Nursing programme.
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence though emotional was delighted to make the announcement of the overall pass rate of 97 percent at the last sitting of the examination.
The students who attended the Charles Rosa, New Amsterdam, Georgetown and the St. Joseph’s Hospital Schools of Nursing gathered at the East Street Parking lot opposite the Georgetown School of Nursing, eagerly awaiting the declaration of their overall performances.
Minister Lawrence briefly noted some of the challenges encountered by students, tutors and other public health officials on the road to this achievement. Nevertheless, she said, “I would just like to take this opportunity to thank god and thank all of you for giving to Guyana and to the medical profession an overall pass rate of 97 percent…”
The nurses, now referred to as Registered Nurses, continued to celebrate as each principal tutor from the various schools announced their respective institution’s performance results. The St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing recorded 100 percent pass; Texila American University 75 percent pass (two out of three students were successful); New Amsterdam School of Nursing 100 percent pass; Charles Rosa School of Nursing 98 percent pass and the Georgetown School of Nursing 99.3 percent pass.
Minister Lawrence remarked that the increased pass rate can be credited to the review and the revamping of the nursing programme and examination scheme. “I believe that what is happening today is a delayed process, it could have been done before.”
After reviewing examination result trends from 2014 to 2016, it was found that the outcomes produced were undesirable for such a major profession.
State final examinations for nurses are usually written twice per year, in March and August, while overall performances are recorded after the October sitting. The examinations are broken down into segments, namely Clinical I and II, Functional I and II and Practical.
Overall pass rates for the years 2014-2016 as presented by Chief Nurse of the Ministry of Public Health were March 2014 – 27.3 percent, October 2014 – 37.5 percent, March 2015 – 67 percent, October 2015 – 66 percent, March 2016 – 51 percent, October – 9.5 percent.
This triggered the Ministry of Public Health network with the Ministry of Education and other support agencies such as PAHO/WHO to conduct a re-examination of the curriculum and a re-evaluation of nurses in Guyana.
“We want to also look at ‘semesterising’ the nursing programme because we believe that this will allow for evaluation and monitoring of students in a more progressive way instead of waiting until the end and then ask you to regurgitate all the things that you would have learnt,” Minister Lawrence explained.
In revamping nursing education in Guyana, the ministry along with the nursing council has focused on improving the classroom environment, building the capacity of tutors, addressing the deficiency of the working conditions of tutors, regularising tutor-student ratio within required standards and implementing up-to-date teaching materials and equipment. Minister Lawrence said this requires a continuous investment by the Government of Guyana.
Moreover, she added that in introducing upgrades and updating the nursing programmes, the influence of the modernised world must be taken into consideration. “We cannot expect them (nursing tutors) to provide a 21st-century education in a 16th-century environment.”
Additionally, in reviewing the nursing programme, Minister Lawrence said that the requirements for entrance into nursing schools will be reviews. This will now afford interested persons in all ten administrative regions, an equal opportunity to access nursing education and to give back to their respective communities.