Health Minister touts massive, ‘blended’ training for nurses


By Isanella Patoir

The government will soon roll out several training courses aimed at upgrading the nursing profession, Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony revealed during a celebration in recognition of International Nurses’ Day on Thursday at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

“We want to see our healthcare system being rapidly modernised and therefore, we have to ensure that our workforce have the requisite training to be able to deliver this, so we are going to create that enabling environment for everybody,” Dr Anthony said.

The Health Minister pointed out the limited capacity of nursing schools to train just about 100 nurses per year, noting this is just not enough for the growing health sector.

“And so, one of the things that we are currently exploring is how we can do blended training, meaning that part of the training will be online.”

Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony with a nurse at the GPHC (Photo: News Room/May 12, 2022)

This means that the theory part of the training will be done online and the practical part will be done at the hospitals.

“We are right now working on a system like that and we are confident that once you put that in place that we will be able to scale up training at a very rapid rate,” Dr Anthony said.

This method, he posited, will not compromise the quality of service and will also encourage more persons to join the profession.

“We have a team that is coming in from York University and they will be here with us, training with us, working with us to look at our curriculum, to see how we can improve it, to meet with you, to understand our systems and to work with us to see how we can better improve training for nurses in Guyana,” the Health Minister stated.

The team from York University will also be accompanied by others from various other Canadian universities; the team is expected in Guyana next week.

“We still have a very good partnership with Northwell and through that partnership, you’re also going to see a number of things, number of projects that we’d be working on with them to make sure that we can improve nursing education and nursing training,” Dr Anthony said.

A team from Columbia University is also in Guyana and will conduct training and knowledge sharing over the next five years.

“So, the bottom line here is that there are lots of training that is available. And I really want people to take these opportunities seriously and use it to upgrade yourself.”

Meanwhile, a team from Mount Sinai, an integrated New York health system, will also be coming to Guyana to train local nurses.

Nurses were also urged not to confine themselves to the registered nursing and midwifery programme. Dr Anthony said that specialised training for nurses will soon be offered.

“With so many specialists that we have, we also need to upgrade the nursing profession to have a lot of specialist nurses.”

Senior nurses also have the opportunity to pursue their Master’s and PhD in nursing. The government is exploring possibilities for Guyanese nurses to do this in nursing in Brazil.

Meanwhile, to further improve the nursing profession, the amendments to the Nurses and Midwives Act is set for debate in the National Assembly on May 17.

The amendments, Dr Anthony said, will address the many challenges nurses face and will pave way for the re-establishment of the Nurses and Midwives Council.

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