Five Caymanian women graduated as licensed practical nurses from the Cayman Islands Hospital School of Nursing last week.
Speaking at the ceremony at the George Town Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Minister of Health Mark Scotland stated the graduate nurses were welcome in a climate where much of the Caribbean is facing a severe nursing shortage.
‘This presents quite a dilemma, particularly for our region,’ said Mr. Scotland. ‘According to a 2005 Pan American Health Organisation study, in Latin America and the Caribbean, we averaged just 30 nurses per 10,000 people. These figures are unlikely to improve in the forseeable future and indeed, the US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the shortage of nurses in the US alone will grow to 275,000 by 2010 and to 800,000 by 2020.’
The new LPNs in this graduating class included Marcia Campbell-Porter, Tabitha Piercy, Cynthia Powell, Melissa Scott and Kimberly Walton. Ms. Porter was presented the outstanding student award.
As the valedictorian, Ms Powell told her fellow classmates that they are well prepared for their new career and encouraged them to believe and have faith in themselves.
The Minister of Education Rolston Anglin also spoke to the nursing graduates, stating that they were about to work in the most noble and respected professions in the world.
‘You are preparing to embark on an adventure, and it won’t be long before you begin to see the value in what you do and the impact you have on other lives,’ said Mr. Anglin. ‘You are going to find out that you are nurses whether you are wearing your uniforms or not. You are caregivers even when you are not at work,’ he said.
‘On more than one occasion, your home telephones will ring and family, friends, or neighbours will be calling to ask you for help in a time of crisis,’ added Mr. Anglin.
In place for over 30 years in the Cayman Islands, 83 nurses have successfully completed the 18-month LPN programme. It has been a critical programme in providing a steady number of nurses to the health care in this country. In many cases, LPN use this programme as the first step to pursue a registered nurse degree which is a bachelor’s degreee programme.
Two years ago, the previous government minister announced that it was a goal to have all the nurses working in the Cayman Islands to become registered nurses.