Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Natalie Malcolm: Certifying health professionals

Published:Thursday | February 2, 2017 | 2:00 AMShanna Monteith
Natalie Malcolm (centre) poses with students of Global Institute of Certified Specialists.

MORANT BAY, St Thomas:

Natalie Malcolm, while working as a registered nurse, noticed that those assigned to assist patients had a vested interest in learning more about the profession, so she started a school.

Global Institute of Certified Specialists (GICS) was formed in June 2009 when Malcolm's will to help surpassed her expectations.

The 31-year-old woman who grew up in Morant Bay, St Thomas, told Rural Xpress that though she is a nurse by profession, she had always loved teaching.

"I believe it's in my genes since most my family members were doing it. While working at the hospital, I realised that the nurses' aides at the time had tremendous interest in assisting the nurses with the patients, but were either not adequately informed on the procedures to be carried out or why they needed to be carried out.

"A shift would go by with the nurses' aides not fully involved in the care of the patients as they would have liked, unless they were with nurses who had time on their hands to fill the shortcomings of the nurses' aides education," she said, adding that this was not very often as the nurses were busy most of the time.

Malcolm said she acted on her desire to help.

At first, it was sharing knowledge with whichever person was assigned to her during her shifts. Then the numbers began increasing. It was then she realised that her informal sessions at the hospital could be developed into something bigger, so she opened the institution to provide certification.

"I realised I could offer a noticeable service by ensuring better-trained nurses' aides through teaching, which would have led to an overall improvement in the patient-care industry.

[GICS) is an allied health school that offers courses such as practical nursing, phlebotomy, pharmacy technician, medical assistant, CXCs and so on," Malcolm said, pointing out that the school has gained several accreditations since its inception.

STUDENTS LEARN A LOT

Patricia O'Brien-Lee, a past student of GICS, spoke highly of the institution.

According to her: "I have learned a lot from my training at GICS. As a student there, you have to make a determination of what you want to accomplish and then work hard at it and the teachers there will help you achieve your goal."

Malcolm, who attended Morant Bay High School, was pleased to share that her brainchild has so far graduated thousands of nurses and other health care personnel, most of whom are employed prior to leaving the institution.

"I am humbled by this accomplishment. I have a passion to help young Jamaicans through education so I feel good that I am achieving that each day," she said.

Malcolm revealed that she is now looking to expand the institution, taking it to her hometown and, hopefully, internationally.

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