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DSC helping to reduce nursing shortage

by: - July 4, 2018
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The Dominica State College (DSC) is playing a role in providing training and education to health care workers on the island, its president has said.

Dr. Donald Peters told a pinning ceremony for nurses on 29 June 2018 that the programs and courses the tertiary institution offers will help address the shortage of health care workers in the future.

Dr. Donald Peters told a pinning ceremony for nurses on 29 June 2018 that the programs and courses the tertiary institution offers will help address the shortage of health care workers in the future.

Diana Bellot, Carleen Boston, Vernelle Edmund, Donnica George, Tisha Lawrence, Jacelyn Lecointe, Dorita Phillip, Cassandra Ukaobi, and Emily White have successfully completed the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree program at the DSC.

According to Dr. Peters when the college opened in 2002 only seven percent of the population had accomplished post-secondary education.

However, sixteen years later, the DSC “alone is graduating an average of four hundred students a year; this number is in addition a number of training students abroad”.

He said those numbers signify that if students continue to choose the health profession as a career, “it is statistically probable that in the future we will be able to have adequate health providers, including nurses, to deliver quality health care to our population”.

“All we have to do is graduate more students, more providers than we need,” he continued.

The DSC, he informed, is already training nurses, nursing assistants, midwives, public health officers, phlebotomists, pharmacy assistants and it looks forward to training even more professionals for the health industry including health educators.

“I’m aware that producing more graduates will not solve the global shortage of nurses immediately, but in the longer run, if we as an institution can educate and train as many nurses as we need with speed and efficiency, we can solve nursing shortages for Dominica,” Dr. Peters stated.

He further noted that Dominica is not alone in experiencing nursing shortages, which is supported by reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

The latest WHO projections reveal that migration and shortages of health care workers in the Americas, and particularly in the Caribbean Region, are impacting significantly on health systems and services.

According to PAHO, the problem is global in nature, with health workforce mobility increasing to meet the estimated 40 million new health care jobs required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals related to health by 2030.

Dominica is among sixteen countries participating in a PAHO and WHO study surveying current migration trends of health care workers in 16 CARICOM countries and territories: Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad, Turks and Caicos Islands and the English-speaking islands of the OECS.

The results of the survey will be used to develop recommendations and address the challenges that migration poses for the health sector of countries involved.

“So I should probably remind all the students who are in the schools in the high schools or primary schools that it might not be a bad idea to choose nursing as a career,” Dr. Peters said.

“It not only pays well, it is a noble profession and you can get rich; I hear not in Dominica, but you can get rich,” he added.