The Government will spend more than $500,000 to ensure all nurses working on Cayman are accredited with nursing degrees by 2011.
The plan will require about 100 nurses to upgrade from a Registered Nurse diploma to a Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree.
The degree will be studied online and is expected to take 30 months to complete on a part-time basis.
Explaining the plan at the Cayman Islands 2nd Annual Nursing Conference, held last week at the Marriot Resort, Chief Education Officer Angela Martins said the Government would fully cover full funds for every Cayman Islands nurse that undertakes the training.
The announcement drew a standing ovation from nurses gathered at the conference.
The Government will also provide a reasonable opportunity for non-Caymanian nurses to participate in the skills upgrade, Ms Martins said, adding that further details still needed to be worked out.
Cayman Islands Chief Nursing Officer Hazel Brown said new educational opportunities will increase levels of nurse satisfaction and retention, in turn improving patient care and satisfaction.
The plan is part of an ambitious Caribbean-wide push to have all nurses in the region accredited with a BScN by 2011.
The degree program will be offered by the University of West Indies, Jamaica with distance education support being provided, free of charge, by Ryerson University, Canada.
Over 30 Cayman nurses are expected to begin studying for the degree in September.
Responding to the announcement, Nursing Association President Andria Dilbert said it was a pivotal day for Cayman nurses.
‘We’ve been calling for this in meetings for so long. This day is like a coming out day for Cayman nurses.’
Opening the conference, Health Minister Anthony Eden said the provision of quality health care services must be a national priority. Nurses play an integral role in this, he added.
Themed, ‘Nursing: a profession and a passion,’ the Cayman Islands 2nd Annual Nursing Conference ran from Tuesday to Thursday last week.
The conference gave nurses the opportunity to complete continuing professional nursing education requirements while learning from leading figures in their field.