Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the Ministry intends to partner more with nurses and midwives in the roll-out of the ‘Zero-to-Three’ initiative.
Addressing the opening of the 28th Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference at the University of the West Indies School of Nursing on Thursday (May 24), Senator Reid said nurses and midwives are professionals who are often involved in the first point of contact with babies after birth, and they can help with the development of infants.
“Across the world, the nursing profession has had a long history of raising concerns and lobbying for changes on matters to do with ethics and healthcare practices. This lies at the heart of what attracted many to the profession in the first place,” Mr. Reid said.
“The Ministry believes nurses and midwives have a crucial role to play, especially in early stimulation and pre-education years from three months to three-plus years, and even further in the early-childhood levels from three to eight months to five years of age. This means we must look closer and work far more strategically with you, our health sector colleagues and partners,” he told the nurses.
Mr. Reid said in addition to this, the Ministry will be seeking to partner with the UWI School of Nursing, Mona, in other ways that will benefit the nation in the long run.
“Jamaican nurses have also developed a most outstanding reputation of not only being well-trained but also generally professional in the delivery of patient care, whether they practise in Jamaica or are ambassadors for Jamaica serving elsewhere in the world,” Mr. Reid said.
“This conference will, therefore, allow for the sharing of experiences, new challenges and new paradigms drawn from across the globe and how these may have an impact locally,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Reid encouraged the UWI School of Nursing to transform its training and testing procedures for students with more use of technology, similar to how the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is now working on online examination for Jamaican students to do some of their CXC tests from their homes.
He said with more online services available for the training and testing of nurses, underserved people in the region who have access to the Internet will be better able to participate and pay for the services that can be taught through theory.
“One of the challenges with the structure of the University of the West Indies is that smaller territories are generally being underserved, because you [the students] have to move from smaller territories to campuses of the University. Over time, the cost becomes very competitive, and we can use technology to reduce the cost of delivery of education and training,” the Minister said.
The Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference is being held from May 24 to 25 under the theme ‘Promoting excellence in patient care through evidence-based nursing and midwifery practice’.
The objectives of the conference are to inform nurses and midwives of new technology and best practices available in the sector, and to hear their concerns regarding the development of Jamaica’s health sector.