Twelve nurses will form the class of the first Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Nursing Programme in Antigua at Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC).
According to a release, the 11-month certificate programme is accredited by the Antigua and Barbuda Nursing Council with support from the Institute of Health Sciences Education (IHSE) and Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). Funding is provided through Guyana Help the Kids (GHTK) with faculty support from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Students who meet the completion requirements will be awarded a certificate as a Registered Neonatal Nurse (RNN).
“We’re all excited, especially our 12 nurses who will be a part of the first class”, said MSJMC Director of Nursing, Jacqueline Jno-Baptise, RN.
“This (specialised training/education) is the future of nursing. We want our nurses to achieve higher levels of education and training so they can practice to the full extent of their potential. In our NICU, our nurses participate as full partners with our physicians and other healthcare professionals – after all, we all share the same goal – to improve and provide compassionate, safe, high-quality patient care.”
The programme applies a holistic approach to providing nursing care for neonates and their families. It places emphasis on neonatal and infant adaptation to various health alterations within a developmental context and includes environmental surveillance/risk reduction, evidence-based practice and education of families.
“The programme will greatly enhance the skills of our nursing team at MSJMC and elevate our position as a premiere medical centre for neonatal care in the region,” said Claudine Richardson MD, MSJMC Consultant Pediatrician. “Currently, we operate a level 3 NICU – This means that we’re caring for very small and very sick babies, as low as 26 weeks’ gestation. We work as a team and as physicians, depend heavily on nurses who are in effect, the primary caregivers in the NICU – them being able to perform various critical tasks on a day-to-day basis independently and with confidence are what will help make the difference and give the healthiest start to the newest members of our community.”
The course incorporates the standards of The American Nurses Association, Quality & Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Standards of Maternal and Neonatal Care, National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) Guidelines for Clinical Practice, and the Standards of Accreditation of Degree Nursing Programmes in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“The programme, which will further help in our hospital building a NICU environment that has robust understanding, willingness and capacity to develop an interdisciplinary team approach to patient care can only make us better at what we do”, said Salma Crump, MSJMC Head of Marketing & Communications. “This type of training would help our nurses (and physicians too) in reinforcing/making those critical decisions necessary to provide much needed care to our sick infants and their families.
“Modern healthcare has to include the expansion of the nursing role to an advanced level of clinical practice. So we’re happy to have full policy-support from the Ministry of Health behind this initiative. Also, this would have been much more difficult for MSJMC to do without the support resourcefulness of Guyana Help the Kids and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, who piloted the programme back in 2012 in Guyana. To date over 70 nurses have been trained.”