- Older nurses in workforce are soon approaching retirement, leaving vacancies
- Nurses migrate for greener pastures, leading to higher patient ratios
- Care-Transition Clinic’s nursing programme to address void created
Following the establishment of Grenada’s first post-hospitalisation support clinic, Ambika Joseph, Owner and Managing Director of Care-Transition Clinic, will embark on another phase of her life’s mission to improve Grenada’s healthcare system.
As part of a strategy to meet critical workforce needs, advance patient care, and educate the next generation of healthcare professionals, Care-Transition Clinic will begin accepting applications for its General Nursing Programme Associate Degree, expected to commence in August 2024.
Potential nursing students must fulfil specific requirements to apply for the 2024 cohort. As part of the application process, potential students will also provide a mission statement of 1,000 words, CV/resume and proof of academic qualifications.
The 3-year programme will be held at their training facility in Tempe, St George, which can accommodate between 25 and 30 students. Application forms for prospective students are available at the main office on Lucas Street in St George’s.
“Our curriculum is designed to provide a comprehensive nursing education that combines theory with hands-on clinical experience. Over the course of the programme, students will learn the essential knowledge and skills needed to become a registered nurse, which will prepare them to take the Regional and National Council exams (NCLEX–RN) to attain their RN licence to practice both locally and internationally,” said Joseph.
Care-Transition Clinic is currently meeting the requirements to be approved by the Nursing and Midwives Council of Grenada. As part of that requirement, students must take a Regional Examination for Nurse Registration (RENR) administered by the Grenada Nursing and Midwives Council upon completing the 3-year programme. Upon passing that exam, students are expected to receive an RN licence to practice locally.
“In order for our nursing programme to be given certification, the programme has to be up and running, and then be observed for criteria compliance such as building/structure, teachers, curriculum, program implementation and adherence to quality training to ensure that the institution continues to maintain the set standards as stipulated in the standard of nursing education. This is the same process that St George’s University and the T A Marryshow Community College nursing programme underwent to achieve today’s standing,” she said.
To meet global standards, nursing certifications require nurses to have the necessary education, experience, and skills to provide patient care and enhance health outcomes. The Care-Transition Clinic is also seeking approval from the Accreditation Commission for Nursing Education in the US.
“We are also in the process of getting both local and international accreditation for our nursing programme. I have already met and am in dialogue with the Grenada National Accreditation Board and the Accreditation Commission for Nursing Education in the United States. However, as part of meeting the criteria for accreditation, we must graduate the first batch of nursing students after 3 years,” Joseph added.
Having over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry, Joseph knows all too well many of the challenges experienced by nurses within the healthcare system, especially the critical nurse shortage.
“Our healthcare system is facing a critical nurse shortage, and it will only get worse as more nurses continue to migrate to other countries for greener pastures this situation must be addressed now before it becomes a full-blown crisis leaving our patients with insufficient and undesiring care,” she said.
Currently, Latin America and the Caribbean are experiencing a nursing shortage. According to PAHO, with only 44.3 professionals per 10,000 residents, falling short of the 70.6 per 10,000 required for universal health access by 2030.
As 40% of nursing positions in the Caribbean remain vacant, primarily due to nurse migration, Joseph saw the urgency to replenish the number of nurses to fill the void.
“Presently, we have a rise in the demand to provide care for an ageing population. The baby boom generation will be 65 and older by 2030 and it is also known that people older than 55 most likely [will] have 3 or more chronic conditions and will require more healthcare services. This will put additional strain on our healthcare resources,” Joseph explained.
“An ageing population also means the average age of nurses is also increasing. That means older nurses in the workforce are soon approaching retirement, leaving vacancies. Another factor is nurses migrate to other countries for greener pastures, leading to higher patient ratios. This only worsens the crisis, leaving the remaining nurses with more patients as vacancies go unfilled, contributing to stress and burnout among nurses, and unfortunately, patient care is affected,” she added.
Care-Transition Clinic recognises the positive impact on patient healthcare that comes with expanding Grenada’s nursing staff.
Improving nurse retention aims to address factors such as burnout, insufficient pay and recognition, and unfavourable working conditions that increase staff turnover and keep nurses in their jobs and the nursing workforce.