Forty-three primary and junior high school students from the public and private school systems were presented with certificates of participation by officials of the Future Nurses of The Bahamas Programme (FNBP) during closing ceremonies at the Ministry of Health.

The class represents the largest number of students to participate in the programme since its launch in 2000. The previous high of 26 was met in 2007 when the programme targeted students from grades 5-9.

Director of Nursing (Acting) Mrs. Marcel Johnson said facilitators of the programme decided to target students from the grades 7-9 level following recommendations from the staff at the Geriatric Hospital where the programme is housed.

Mrs. Johnson said one of the goals of the FNBP is to increase the number of participants who will enter the Nursing Cadet Programme that has been established at the Secondary School level, “with a view to enrolling them in the Nursing Programme at the College of The Bahamas School of Nursing upon graduation.”

“The Future Nurses of the Bahamas Programme is the first step in a systematic plan that is to ensure that we have a pool of qualified persons we can select for the Nursing Programme at the College of The Bahamas in the first instance, and also serve as a mentoring ground for the replenishing of the pool of nursing professionals in the country,” Mrs. Johnson said.

“The FNBP seeks to identify competent students who show a positive aptitude and attitude towards nursing, providing them with the assistance and encouragement to remain interested and motivated to choose nursing as a career.

“The FNBP is also designed to assist participants to develop the correct concept of nurses (and) their roles in the nursing profession. It also seeks to develop a sense of caring for persons with whom the students come in contact daily (whether) at home, school or in the community,” Mrs. Johnson added.

Mrs. Johnson applauded the students for the “invaluable service” they rendered to the elderly at the Geriatrics Hospital during their two-week internship.

“Reports coming from the Geriatrics Hospital indicate that these students made invaluable contributions to the care to the elderly residents of that institution. I thank you for the services you rendered to the elderly during your time in the programme and encourage you continue along this path,” Mrs. Johnson added.

Mrs. Melonie Bridgewater, Nursing Officer II and Clinical Facilitator of the FNBP also applauded the students for their dedication to the residents of the Geriatric Hospital. She said nursing is “truly a scientific profession” that is directed towards the caring for the physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the community.

“These future nurses have demonstrated desirable qualities such as a willingness to learn, kindness, compassion and caring just to name a few,” she said. “The FNBP was the brainchild of Mrs. Mary Johnson (recently retired Directed of Nursing) who herself was a dedicated, pioneering and visionary healthcare professional and who exhibited the very same qualities all nursing professionals should have.

“This FNBP helps to continue Mrs. Johnson’s vision and as nursing professionals involved in the programme, we must all strive to motivate, train and nurture persons to become future nursing professionals in order to ensure that out clients always receive the very best of healthcare,” Mrs. Bridgewater added.

Students were selected for the programme based on an average grade of at least “C”, mental and physical fitness and good interpersonal skills. They also must be Bahamian and have to be recommended to the programme by their Principal or Guidance