Nurses from the public and private sector will meet next week to discuss a number of issues relating to the delivery of quality healthcare to all sectors of the Bahamian society at the Nurses Association of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas (NACB) hosts its 32nd annual conference.

The conference will take place on Thursday, November 13 at Worker’s House and will address a number of key issues including the importance of continuing education for nurse professionals and the role it will play in the delivery of quality healthcare to all patients.

Association officials say one of the major objectives of the conference is to empower nurses from all sectors of society, “to develop the effective leadership skills that will lead to the continued delivery of quality healthcare to all patients and/or clients while allowing Bahamian Nurses to compete in the global arena.”

“It is our intent that nurses will leave this conference empowered to take a leadership role in defining the future of nursing and that they will develop or enhance those leadership skills and return to their respective areas with a view to continuing the provision of quality healthcare to all clients,” said Nurse Persephone Munnings, Chairperson of the NACB’s Education and Research Committee.

Nurse Munnings said the delivery of quality healthcare is inextricably linked to the competence of the nurses providing that care. She said that competence is developed from participating in continued education, training and development programmes.

“Quality care really involves giving the patients the safest and best quality of care that any client can ever receive,” Nurse Munnings said. “And so the nurse providing that care must first be competent and comfortable in her delivery of care. It is our objective to ensure that the nurses who are providing that care are competent and qualified.”

Mrs. Munnings said the nursing profession has changed to the extent where nurses now have to treat the patient as a whole, while meeting their every need.

“When a nurse comes into contact with a patient, she not only has to manage the healthcare needs of the patient, but is also required to meet all of their other needs whether that includes dealing with family members; dealing with the fact that the client may be the sole bread winner in the family and can no longer work which can present challenges for families, or whether the patient may have to have a limb removed – for example a leg – which also has an impact on the patient and his/her family.

“As nurse professionals, we have to take all of these things into consideration while simultaneously help the patient to find solutions to some of these challenges. Nurses are not just called upon to look after only the health needs of the patient, but we are also called upon to ensure that their social, spiritual and other needs are met so that they can have a smooth transition when they return home.”

Nurse Munnings said the conference will also provide nurse professionals with the opportunity to share best practices.

“It will also provide us with an opportunity to network with our colleagues from throughout The Bahamas as we have nurses who are coming from Grand Bahama and the Family Islands, including those from the private sector whether they are employed in the private hospitals and clinics or the tourism industry, particularly the hotels,” Mrs. Munnings added.

“Through networking, we can learn best practices from each other and it is my belief that this collaboration can only bode well for the future of the nursing profession at all levels in The Bahamas,” Mrs. Munnings added.

NACB President Mrs. Prescola Rolle, said conference participants will be addressed by experts in the nursing profession. She said one of the key goals of the Association is to have a nurse “who is educated and who is able to be flexible in meeting every situation with which they are confronted, head on.”

“We now live in a global environment and so we must have our nurses prepared to meet the changes that come along with globalization,” Mrs. Rolle said. “The way we can do this is by providing them with the leadership skills and expertise they will need to compete in a global market against the Nurses from India, China, the Philippines and any other country.

“The nursing profession in The Bahamas has evolved so much so that we not only have nurses providing the bed side and other clinical functions of the client, but we also have nurses who are involved in the day-to-day administration of the healthcare system in The Bahamas; those who are helping to shape policy with regards to the delivery of healthcare and nurses who are involved in strategic planning.

“We have nurses who possess Ph. D’s and Master’s Degrees to go along with Bachelor’s and Associate Degrees and so we can see where our profession has really moved forward and is impacting the country in a positive way.

“We want to continue that trend by promoting continuing education, training and development for all of our nurses,” Mrs. Rolle added.