Capacitating Guyana’s Nurse Educators

The Ministry of Health (MOH) of Guyana identifies the nation’s shortage of qualified nursing educators as an acute crisis, with a reported ratio of only seven faculty members for every 500 students in each of the island nation’s four public nursing schools. Alleviation of the extreme scarcity of prepared nurse tutors and clinical instructors is described as a dire necessity of this country’s health care system. In response to this urgent need:

In January of 2013, two faculty members from the UM SONHS CC traveled to Guyana and facilitated a three-day workshop for faculty and administrators from the MOH’s public nursing schools on how to conduct clinical instruction with an emphasis on patient safety. Products of this workshop included a Clinical Instruction Education Manual, with copies delivered to all participants, to the Ministry of Health leadership, and to all participating schools of nursing and hospitals.

Building upon the success of the above-described training activity, the UM SONHS CC partnered with the PAHO/WHO Subregional Office in Guyana and the Guyana Ministry of Health to facilitate the Nursing Education Certificate Program for a contingent of Guyana’s nurse educators selected by the country’s Ministry of Health. This is a hybrid (i.e. combination online and face-to-face onsite) 24-week, four-course program customized to the specific conditions of Guyana’s nurse educators. Preliminary results indicate a high degree of positive overall satisfaction with the course and attainment of program goals, including equipping Guyana nurse tutors with knowledge on best practices in didactic and clinical nursing instruction, and capacitating them to train other faculty members in these practices. The overall goals of this project include systems-wide and maintainable improvement in the Guyana nursing education infrastructure, as well as design of a replicable and sustainable educational product that can be utilized in other countries with similar nursing education support needs. This initiative was recognized with the 2017 Sigma Theta Tau International honor society of nursing’s “Excellence in Educational Research” Award. It has been highlighted in a number of healthcare publications and reports as a noteworthy, excellent, relevant and exemplary hemispheric initiative.