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Regional Nursing Body Conference

The 43rd Annual General Meeting was held in Grand Cayman.

The 43rd Annual General Meeting of the Regional Nursing Body (RNB) was held in Grand Cayman last week.

The Cayman Islands Ministry of Health hosted the three-day event, 23-25 August 2016.

Chief Nursing Officers and Nursing Council Chairs from across the region travelled to the Islands, along with a CARICOM representative, to discuss regional efforts in advancing education, practice, research and policy agendas, regarding nursing and midwifery.

Ministerial Councillor for Health Roy McTaggart gave the opening address at the conference, with greetings from Chief Officer for the Ministry of Health Jennifer Ahearn. Health Services Authority (HSA) Chief Nursing Officer Hazel Brown also addressed delegates, in addition to the Chair of the Regional Nursing Body. Additionally, remarks were made by representatives of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Cayman Islands, the Cayman Islands Nursing Association, and the Caribbean Community, CARICOM.

The accreditation of nursing education programmes headed the list of discussion topics addressed by delegates, as well as regional progress towards all schools of nursing within the region converting to the Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing as the entry level to nursing.

“To protect this important progress, it is critical that we continue to strive for the accreditation of nursing education programmes throughout the Caribbean,” Councillor McTaggart stated in his opening address. “In the Cayman Islands, we understand the critical importance of investing in human capital, which is necessary to enable our nurses to thrive in a dynamic healthcare environment.”

Councillor McTaggart recognised the UCCI Nursing Programme for being ahead of the curve in the Caribbean.

“I believe it is important to accredit programmes such as UCCI Nursing Programme. This initiative was formally launched three years ago, and has since opened the minds of many Caymanians to a promising career in healthcare,” he explained. “When it started in August 2013, it marked a critical point in our history, as this was the first time a bachelor of science in nursing had been offered to students in the Cayman Islands.”

Councillor McTaggart also mentioned that currently the Nursing and Midwifery legislation to regulate the practice of Nursing and Midwifery is with the Legal Drafting department.

The Zika virus was another topic that took centre stage, as did the call for a regional approach to combat the spread of the virus, and focus on preventative health measures.

Regional Nursing Board Chair, Ms Nester Edwards, from Grenada, emphasised that all efforts should be made in the prevention of the Zika virus. She explained there needs to be a unified effort to control the spread of the virus, which may also lead to other fatal complications such as the Guillain-Barré disease.

“In Grenada three people have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré disease and one person has died from the disease. If we work together as a region to prevent the Zika virus, we can prevent these deadly complications,” Ms. Edwards stated.

Meeting delegates hailed from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Turks and Caicos

Background:

The Regional Nursing Body was conceptualised in 1959 and inaugurated in 1972 within the Caribbean Community Secretariat. It comprises all chief nursing officers of CARICOM member states.

The body's purpose is to update and advise health ministries on matters relating to health and nursing, and to improve areas of nursing education and service within the Caribbean. It has been an important regional force in advancing education, practice, research and policy agenda, relative to nursing and midwifery.

For further information contact: Jamie Hicks