Twelve (12) nurses will form the class of the first Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Nurse Program in Antigua at Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC).
This eleven (11) month certificate program is accredited by the Antigua & Barbuda Nursing Council with support from the Institute of Health Sciences Education(IHSE) and Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). Students who meet the completion requirements will be awarded a certificate as a Registered Neonatal Nurse (RNN). Funding is provided through Guyana Help the Kids (GHTK) with faculty support from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
‘We’re all excited – especially our twelve (12) nurses who will be a part of the first class”, said Jacqueline Jno-Baptise RN, MSJMC Director of Nursing. “This(specialized 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 Program 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 program 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 twenty-six (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 Programs in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“The program, 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 (GHTK) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, who piloted the program back in 2012 in Guyana. To date over seventy(70) nurses have been trained.”
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