Thursday 22 October, 2020

Failing student nurses affecting patient care

Minister Jeffrey Bostic.

Minister Jeffrey Bostic.

A significant number of student nurses are failing the regional nursing certification exam, putting in jeopardy the quality of care delivered at the island’s health institutions.  

This has forced the Ministry of Health and Wellness to go back to the drawing board with education stakeholders to determine the areas of weakness in the curriculum delivered at the Barbados Community College. 

This was the information revealed by Health Minister, Jeffrey Bostic during the Appropriation Bill and Estimates 2019 in the House of Assembly today.  

“We have a situation where we have been graduating nurses from the [Barbados] Community College but the nurses have not been able to pass the regional examination at the level we would expect. It is a serious deficiency, in some cases it is one third.”  

He agreed that the shortage of nurses has affected patient care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and polyclinics and assured the Ministry was actively putting steps in places to ensure more nurses are equipped to pass the regional examinations.  

The issue of shortages within the QEH Physiotherapy Department was also raised during the Sitting. Chief Executive Officer of the QEH, Dr. Dexter James admitted there were not enough physiotherapists available to provide treatment on a regular basis.  

He explained this was mostly due to an increase in motor vehicle accidents and violent incidents.  

“The demand that is occasioned by injuries from accidents and violence, together with the number of strokes, pose a serious burden on the physiotherapy resources of the hospital.” 

He said the hospital has had to treat as many as 60 persons a month who suffer with strokes and this has put “tremendous pressure” on the rehabilitation services of the health care institution.  

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