UPDATE: University of Technology considers establishing nursing college
The University of Technology (UTech), having had to turn away hundreds of prospective nursing students over the years, is now looking to expand its nursing programme by establishing a College of Nursing, Midwifery and Health.
The university has been forced to consider the move as its nursing programme has been attracting both local and international applicants, but, with limited space and resources, has not been able to take them all.
"Every year, we turn away over 600 applicants who are actually qualified because we just do not have the space and the resources," Head of the Caribbean School of Nursing Dr Adella Campbell told The Gleaner after a stripping ceremony held for the more than 200 nursing students in Papine, St Andrew, on Thursday,
Campbell argued that expanding the school into a college would be a strategic move that could help stem the crisis of the shortage of nurses in the country.
"If we had the classroom space and more clinical space, we could readily accept more students. If we expand into a college, we can take in more students and train them in the specialist areas as well and increase the numbers we currently have," the nursing school head stated.
Campbell said a factor that is driving the university to establishing the college is the recognition that there is competition for space to train student nurses.
In the meantime, Campbell, who, in 2013, copped the prestigious Nurse of the Year award, boasted that UTech is in the habit of training world-class nurses.
She pointed out that the rigorous training the institution administers has made graduates of the nursing programme attractive.
"We have been training world-class nurses and that is why we cannot keep our nurses. You hear it when you go abroad that Jamaican nurses are the best, and it is because of how they were trained."
The nursing school head further contended that because of the resource-strained environment in which Jamaican nurses are trained, "we are constantly improvising. So, if one is so used to the tough environment and then gets put into an environment where everything is available to work with ... what is there to stop them from performing?"
(Editor's note: The headline associated with an earlier version of this story inaccurately suggested that The UTech has already signed off on establishing a nursing college. We regret the error.)