HISTORY OF NURSING EDUCATION
Nursing Education in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has evolved from a state of informal but recognized on-the-job training in 1948 at the then Colonial Hospital, to the structured formal institutional type that presently exists as the Division of Nursing Education (formerly St. Vincent and the Grenadines School of Nursing). In the earlier years of informal nurse training, a sole resident doctor conducted training with some assistance from the ward staff who performed the role of Instructors and supervisors. The requirement for entry into the nursing programme was based mainly on character references rather than academic ability.
As the health system developed, it created the need for changes to the existing system of nurse training and in keeping with this trend, the first tutor of nursing was appointed in 1953. By the early 1960’s, the then St. Vincent and the Grenadines School of Nursing was allocated rooms at the Nurses Hostel, however, administration of nursing education remained in the hands of the hospital matron. Following this era and noted changes in disease trends, emphasis was placed on changing the criteria for entry into the nurse training programme; which shifted from character reference to educational qualification.
A Preliminary Training for Students (PTS) was introduced. This training consisted of a three (3) block system with additional blocks of three months, each being held in the second and third year. In 1969, the length of the PTS block was increased to six (6) months. The introduction of the block system was a milestone in the history of nursing education and heralded a new era in its organization. For the first time students were assigned to a classroom in order to acquire theoretical knowledge using a formal syllabus.
In the early 70’s, the Advanced Nursing Education Unit at UWI Mona, Jamaica opened and nurse educators were formally trained. In 1975, the then School of Nursing moved from the Nurses Hostel to its present location at Largo Height. Under the administration of a Senior Nursing Officer of Education, a cadre of nursing educators were given the responsibility for the education of all students. The decision to relocate the school was done in keeping with the trend to expand and improve healthcare in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Hence, it became necessary to relook the present system of training nursing personnel and reorganize the direction of the then School of Nursing for the future.
Hence, a more formalized and expanded syllabus was implemented; this marked the beginning of the end of the apprenticeship system and the birth of student status. By October, 1977, the school was officially opened with five (5) trained nurse educators and others were still in training. In 1986, a new primary healthcare-oriented curriculum was developed to guide nursing education. This heralded a new era in nursing education in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, moving from the “Block System” of training to a more organized system of nursing education. In addition, standards were established and implemented to guide the education and practice of nursing.
The Division of Nursing Education shall be a department within the SVG Community College that provides basic and continuing programmes for Nursing Personnel and community members to satisfy health service requirements locally, regionally and internationally. As providers of health care, its graduates are analytical and astute decision makers, capable of efficient adaptation to change that will result from health sector reform.
The Division of Nursing Education is responsible for cost effectively training all categories and levels of nursing personnel in sufficient quantities to meet health service needs and demands.
We believe that Nursing Education:
- Is a dynamic process which utilizes its various programmes to provide a broad and sound foundation for the effective practice of nursing and forms the basis for Advanced Nursing Education and Training.
- Utilizes as its base, physical, biological and social sciences and that its curricula should reflect the health needs and cultural background of the state of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
- Should develop programmes which direct its graduates towards meeting the basic needs of man in the context of the family, and community; throughout the life cycle and along the health-illness continuum.
- Utilizes the multidisciplinary approach in the implementation of on-going evaluation of its programmes.
- Should respond to changes in the society and advances in related technology.
- Should be conducted in an environment that is conducive to learning.
- Should meet the educational needs of students and also provide opportunities for organizational, social and recreational activities.
- Should be provided with adequate resources to effectively implement its programmes and that continuing education opportunities should always be available for the updating of skills.
- Should employ a sound management system to ensure effective administration of its programmes.
- Should be formally recognized as a tertiary level educational institution.
The main aim of the Division of Nursing Education is to prepare graduates who are capable of providing, promotive, preventive, curative, restorative and rehabilitative care to individuals, families and communities. This care is provided to individuals and groups at any stage of the health illness continuum, and at any stage of the life cycle in a variety of community settings.
The Division exists to:
- Collaborate with other the other Division’s to promote and uphold the ideals, objectives, vision and mission of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.
- Develop marketing strategies to attract, recruit and retain suitable candidates in nursing education programmes.
- Recruit quantities and categories of candidates reflective of the nursing man power policy and plan.
- Facilitate the implementation of the national nursing education primary health care (PHC) – focused curricula for the training of different nursing personnel.
- Implement the Commonwealth Caribbean Standards for nursing education.
- Utilize appropriate resources and strategies in the implementation of nursing education programmes.
- Maintain an interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach in the implementation of the Division’s programmes.
- Prepare all nursing personnel with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes to function efficiently and effectively.
- Encourage activities that will aid the personnel and professional growth of students.
- Provide ongoing staff development programmes based on curricula needs and goals.
- Monitor and evaluate all nursing education programmes and policies.