Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
Plans are far advanced to increase the offerings in the Hyacinth Chen School of Nursing at Northern Caribbean University (NCU). To that end, they will soon be offering courses in advanced graduate and specialised nursing care in several areas, such as radiography, infomatics, physical therapy ... , in all, some 12 professions in the healthcare business.
"We are developing an agreement with the Florida health system and in the process of establishing a meeting with Loma Linda University re dental care," Dr Trevor Gardner, president of NCU, told The Gleaner in a recent interview.
He explained that over the years, Jamaica has not prioritised training in those areas and they were seeking to change that. In the medical industries for example, Dr Gardner said that NCU could establish a medical equipment repair or manufacturing unit or even support by way of repairs to what we buy from abroad.
"Do we have the scope to build them here? Yes we do? Some are very labour intensive and low in terms of academic requirements to do some of that here," he stressed.
He further noted that NCU is looking at industries that can be brought into Jamaica that will support our academic environment.
"The health sector never seems to lose its attraction, it changes and evolves, but it will always be around, so we are looking at how we expand opportunities for learning and teaching here," the visionary president said.
In the area of business, NCU is now defining its business model. Work is close to completion and they will know shortly what it is and how it's different. "It will have an emphasis on entrepreneurship ... too many graduates are leaving and going out to find jobs. We want them to go out to employ people; to be productive and export more from the country. We are on a deliberate path and our teachers must recalibrate themselves for that direction," Dr Gardner said, obviously passionate about that subject.
He noted that the university is a mission-driven institution, driven by something that transcends the normal earthly spheres of existence, similar to the church. NCU picks its mandate from church and is never satisfied. They are always on the move to improve.