August 31, 2012
44 Nurses graduate with degrees from Cuba

The first 44 Cuban university-trained nurses returned home to St Vincent and the Grenadines this month following six years of study in the largest Caribbean country, well noted for its medical prowess.{{more}}

This group includes Monesha Matthews, selected among the most outstanding students at the Caribbean School of Nursing.

They were part of an original class of 85 males and females who were offered the opportunity to follow the example of Florence Nightingale when the Republic of Cuba created the Caribbean School of Nursing especially to help offset the imbalance caused by frequent defections of trained nurses to more developed countries. The school opened its doors in 2006 with students from St Lucia who were joined by others from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, and later St Kitts and Nevis and Grenada.

The course pursued by the graduating nurses contained the best elements of the curriculum offered in the English-speaking Caribbean, coupled with the latest advances in nursing developed from the Cuban experience.

The curriculum had the oversight and buy-in of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Nursing Council and the Government of this nation after officials visited Cuba and held discussions with Cuban health officials in 2006.

The graduating nurses first pursued a three-year registered nurse diploma, followed by two extra years leading to the Licentiatura (five year) degree university diploma.

A release from the Ministry of Health said beginning Monday, the nurses will undergo an orientation programme to become familiar with the local health system and to prepare them for employment at home and within CARICOM territories.