Beginning in September, trainee nurses will be able to obtain a bachelor’s degree in the Cayman Islands for the first time.
The University College of the Cayman Islands held a launch for its bachelor’s of science programme in nursing last Thursday to announce details of the four-year degree, which is designed to prepare nurses as generalists with the required knowledge, skills and attitude to practise at the entry level. The degree also provides a foundation in the sciences and liberal arts.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Tracey Hargrave, coordinator of the programme, who added that there has been a need for homegrown nursing opportunities in the Cayman Islands for some time.
“Previously, there was a licensed practical nurse 18-month programme at the hospital,” she said. “However, this is a four-year programme, which is much more in depth.”
The nursing programme at UCCI was initially ignited by a Pan American Health Organisation initiative through the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority.
The application deadline is 1 May. There is only space for 18 candidates. However, Mrs. Hargrave said that this would increase as the programme develops.
Officials from UCCI, the Ministry of Education, Financial Services and Employment and the Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture were on hand for the official launch.
UCCI president Roy Bodden, who chairs the Nursing Advisory Council, said the establishment of a school of nursing at the college would broaden the educational options of students and also “speaks volumes to the growth of UCCI as a tertiary level institution”.
“Importantly, too, it conveys a sense of the growth of the Cayman Islands as a maturing society,” he added.
With the ongoing construction of Dr. Devi Shetty’s Health City Cayman Islands in East End, the first phase of which will provide a 140-bed tertiary care hospital – as well as plans for other new medical facilities and initiatives in addition to the existing hospitals – the demand for nurses in Cayman is growing, Deputy Premier Rolston Anglin said.
Mr. Anglin, who is also minister of education, described Cayman’s “extremely important” medical field as one in which Caymanians should be encouraged to take part. “By having this nursing programme offered locally at UCCI, we are making it more accessible for our people to train in this area,” he said.
The government’s Scholarship Secretariat will be providing local scholarships to eligible Caymanians, he said.
“I would like to thank UCCI and HSA [Health Services Authority] for making this programme a reality and for ensuring it is regulated so that it is competitive and internationally recognised,” Mr. Anglin said. “I look forward to hearing of the successes of the programme and of the nurses who graduate from this course.”
Health Minister Mark Scotland acknowledged earlier attempts by the HSA to undertake training initiatives for nurses by offering the Licensed Practical Nurse programme “which had to be suspended in lieu of a more cost-effective programme”.
“The new nursing programme at UCCI will provide opportunities for graduates of the LPN programme and other students looking to have a rewarding career in the health care industry to obtain a bachelor’s degree and qualify to become registered nurses without having to leave the island.”
Minister Scotland said students would benefit from a world-class programme at a competitive price.
“The curriculum provides a global perspective and is comparable with other curricula in the region and elsewhere in the world. Priced competitively, the programme is internationally attractive. It is also important to note that we have taken care to bring special focus and attention to the needs of the local industry,” he said.
To qualify for the programme, applicants must have a minimum of five CXC, IGCSE, GSCE passes with grades 1-3 or A-C. These must include mathematics, English and a science. Among the five subjects, no more than two subjects should be at grades III.
Alternatively, those with an LPN certificate may also apply. They must have five years relevant experience, an examination pass in mathematics (CSC, IGCSE, GCSE), plus a recommendation from an employer.
All applicants must be at least 17 years old at time of entry. They must submit an essay or statement as part of their application. An interview is also required.
The bachelor of science degree in nursing is awarded on successful completion of the programme of study. Graduates are eligible to write the Nursing Council of Jamaica approved and administered Regional Examination for Nurse Registration to obtain the title of registered nurse, which is a requirement for practicing nursing legally.
Applications from qualified students are still being accepted until May 1.
Anyone interested in learning more about the programme should contact the University College of the Cayman Islands.