Fourth-year nursing students from Northern Caribbean University were surprised to receive laptop computers and pulse oximeters.

February 2, 2024 | Kingston, Jamaica | Dyhann Buddoo-Fletcher, Andrews Memorial Hospital

One hundred final-year nursing students from Northern Caribbean University (NCU) burst into rapturous applause at the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kingston, Jamaica on receiving their personal HP Laptops and pulse oximeters. The valuable donations of 110 laptops and oximeters were gifts to NCU final-year nursing students from AdventHealth in collaboration with Andrews Memorial Hospital (AMH) and the GSI Foundation during a Handing Over Ceremony held on Jan. 17, 2024.

The GSI Foundation is the charity arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica and the vehicle for getting the goods into the country.

“Computers are integral in developing education,” said Nurse Owen Gregory, Senior International Heritage Liaison for AdventHealth, who spoke at the ceremony. “This gift from AdventHealth will help to foster your education and to navigate the complex arena of the future. As we prepare our nurses, it is important to equip them with the resources needed to complete that education. Donating these computers is one step in meeting that need and committing to their education.”

A group of final-year nursing students from Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica, show off their laptops received as gifts from AdventHealth, in collaboration with Andrews Memorial Hospital and GSI Foundation, during the handing over ceremony held at the Kencot SDA Church on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. One hundred final-year nursing students benefitted from a brand new laptop. [Photo: Leonard Thomas]

Tackling the Nursing Crisis

Further addressing the cause, the President and CEO of Andrews Memorial Hospital, Mr. Donmayne Gyles, said that the extraordinary partnership between AdventHealth, a prominent American non-profit, faith-based healthcare system with 53 hospitals and headquartered near Orlando, Florida, along with Jamaica’s Adventist-run Andrews Memorial Hospital and Northern Caribbean University, aims to revolutionize the nursing profession and address the pressing need for nursing development and retention in Jamaica.

“This groundbreaking endeavour involves a tripartite collaboration between the three institutions, creating a comprehensive pipeline for nursing education, development, and employment.”

Gyles highlighted that the challenges facing the nursing profession in Jamaica are immense, and healthcare institutions and academic organizations must join forces to overcome them.

“Together, we are forging a path for excellence and ensuring that our nursing workforce is prepared to tackle the challenges of the future.” Hence, “AdventHealth, AMH, and NCU are pooling their resources, expertise, and influence to cultivate a pipeline that will lay the foundation for advancing nursing education, ensuring high-quality development, and ultimately retaining skilled nurses within the healthcare workforce.”

It’s a thumbs up for the NCU final year nursing students’ class representative, Shavay Shearer (centre), the first recipient of her laptop from Nurse Owen Gregory, Senior International Heritage Liaison for AdventHealth, standing to her immediate left and Dr. Lincoln Edwards, President, NCU standing to her immediate right. [Photo: Leonard Thomas]

Happy for such an alliance, the Board Chair of the three institutions, AMH, NCU and GSI, Pastor Everett Brown, thanked AdventHealth heartily for forging this relationship of such a meaningful gift, “Thank you, AdventHealth, for your invaluable partnership with the Andrews Memorial Hospital over these many years. The future of health care in Jamaica and the world is in this room. I hope that the investment made by AdventHealth and, by extension, AMH will go a long way in developing the requisite nurses to add value to life, Jamaica, and the world. We are eternally grateful for your gifts. Take back our profound thanks for this important gesture.”

Values-based nursing

Accepting the gifts, Dr Lincoln Edwards, President of NCU, expressed his profound gratitude on behalf of the students, faculty, and staff of NCU to AdventHealth, AMH and GSI Foundation. He also expounded on the importance of values-based nursing.

“Central to the business model of AdventHealth and Andrews Memorial Hospital are nurses, said Dr. Edwards.  “That means you. You are central to their business because they are in the business of patient care, and patient care requires nurses. But AdventHealth and Andrews Memorial Hospital don’t require any kind of nurses,” he added. “They want nurses who receive values-based education that allows them to care passionately for those who need such services. NCU is in the business of training such nurses.”

 

Shavay Shearer, NCU’s final year nursing student receives her laptop and oximeter from Nurse Owen Gregory, Senior International Heritage Liaison for AdventHealth. Dr. Lincoln Edwards, President of NCU and Mr. Donmayne Gyles, President of AMH, immediate right, respectively, applaud her, while Pastor Everett Brown (far left), Board Chair for AMH, NCU and GSI Foundation, looks on. [Photo: Leonard Thomas]

Dr. Edwards further encouraged nursing students to accept the offer of working with AMH and AdventHealth.  “All of you nurses, when you complete your studies this year, please consider serious employment at Andrews Memorial Hospital and AdventHealth. You will have the opportunity to spend two years at AMH if you decide to move on to AdventHealth or continue at Andrews. But I know that both institutions value you very much.”

Students’ reactions

Nursing students reacted with gleeful excitement and thunderous applause to Dr Edwards’ announcement that the laptops and pulse oximeter were theirs to keep.

“We heard something was coming from last year before our final exams, but I wasn’t sure what it was,” said Daniella Montfort from Guyana. “The culmination of this build-up is so exciting. I am excited just being here to receive my laptop,” she said. “After the financial challenges that COVID-19 brought of being online, this gift is so much more meaningful. Some students do assignments from their phones; therefore, this is a blessing. Thank you so much to all partners involved.”

Shavay Shearer expressed her gratitude in her vote of thanks, “I am thrilled and grateful for this initiative, and I speak on behalf of all the nursing students thanking you for the gifts, especially for the opportunity to work with these two health institutions.”

Nurse Owen Gregory, Senior International Heritage Liaison for AdventHealth, flanked by NCU nursing students and Pastor Everett Brown, Board Chair for AMH, NCU and GSI Foundation, stands far right as the group looks at samples of the HP laptops and oximeters presented on Jan. 17, 2024. [Photo: Leonard Thomas]

“The ceremony today was great! I am happy for the laptops, which will help with our assignments, develop our nursing skills, and ensure that we become more professional nurses in the future,” said Antonio Bower, one of the six final-year male nursing students who received his gift. “I look forward to collaborating with either health institutions in the future.”

50 years graduating nurses

The Northern Caribbean University, then West Indies College, began its nursing program in 1970 in collaboration with Loma Linda University and Andrews Memorial Hospital.

“This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary since the graduation of NCU’s first cohort of nursing students, and we are growing strong,” said Nurse Januell Miller, assistant professor in the Department of Nursing at NCU.

With 120 students entering the department annually, mostly in the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, Professor Vincent Wright, dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Allied Health, and Nursing at NCU, said that NCU’s nursing graduates are in demand worldwide.

One hundred final-year NCU nursing students stand behind the leaders from AdventHealth, Andrews Memorial Hospital, GSI Foundation and Northern Caribbean University after receiving individual laptops and oximeters during the handing over ceremony of 110 laptops and oximeters at the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. [Photo: Leonard Thomas]

“We graduate approximately 100 to 115 students each year. We know that our students are trained to offer excellent patient care and well-cultured mannerisms” added Wright. “The nursing program also instills accountability for professional growth, through the provision of appropriate nursing skillset and lifelong learning. That’s our training at NCU.”

Final year student Akhalia Brown, concurs that her positive experience in NCU’s nursing department prepares her well.

“The nursing program prepares me for the real world. The lecturers teach us how to make sound clinical judgments, exposing us to clinical experiences, balancing advocating for patient care and empathy in a professional manner.”

About NCU

Northern Caribbean University is situated in Mandeville, Jamaica. It achieved senior college status in the late 1950s when it began to offer the bachelor’s degree in theology and was known as West Indies College. Since then, baccalaureate programs in some twenty other disciplines have been added. The Jamaican Government granted university status in 1999, and the school became Northern Caribbean University. The university offers over seventy-degree programs, including graduate programs in the sciences, business, and education.

To learn more about Northern Caribbean University, its initiatives, and activities, visit ncu.edu.jm

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