Graduation in Guyana

Graduation in Guyana

By SONHSNews

Graduation in Guyana

By SONHSNews
Despite global pandemic, nursing education certificate program is going strong five years after its launch

One established program that will continue as part of the School of Nursing and Health Studies’ redesignation as a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre (2020-2024) was informed by the school’s own emergency response plan for natural is the Certificate in Nursing Education program in Guyana. But the program, which celebrated its fifth year in 2020, had to be revised for the new normal imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With just four nursing schools in a nation of about 783,000 people, a key obstacle to getting more Guyanese nurses in the field has traditionally been a lack of teaching faculty. The SONHS Collaborating Centre, PAHO, and the Guyana Ministry of Health launched the certificate program to teach nursing leaders how to train other faculty. This builds Guyana’s instructor pool and its capacity to graduate nurses.

Offered since 2015 as a hybrid in- person/online curriculum, the course moved fully online in 2020 due to the pandemic. The first all-online cohort of 25 nurses and nurse-midwives graduated in March 2021, overcoming everything from severe weather and spotty internet service to pandemic curfews and COVID fatigue.

“We’re having challenges here in the U.S., but the magnitude of what they’re experiencing is much greater,” says SONHS Assistant Professor of Clinical Susan Prather, who taught the certificate course for the first time. “Some of the students do not have access to internet at home or if they have internet at home, it doesn’t work well.”

Connectivity concerns couldn’t dampen participant enthusiasm. Nurse tutor Cenise Glasgow Fraser says completing the course online helped her consider new ways to tie virtual resources into her own teaching. “My knowledge has been expanded about various instructional methodologies or strategies I can incorporate as a nurse educator to meet the needs of my students,” she says. “Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the knowledge is really timely too.”

Fellow 2021 graduate Jenesa Fields, 33, a nurse/ midwife who teaches full-time at Guyana’s Georgetown School of Nursing, agrees. “This course has been a tremendous learning experience,” says Fields. “We’re not only looking at quantity, the amount of students we’re putting out there. We’re also addressing the quality of the nurses we send out to work in our health care system here.”

University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies Dean and Professor Cindy L. Munro attended the cohort’s graduation ceremony via Zoom, offering congratulatory remarks.

“As tutors and clinical instructors, you were already playing a critical role in growing Guyana’s nursing and midwifery workforce,” said Dean Munro. “The positive impact you will have on your nation’s health system as you go on to prepare future nurse educators like yourselves cannot be overstated. Despite the many challenges imposed by this pandemic, your actions embodied the spirit of the Year of the Nurse!”