A total of 158 newly registered nurses have successfully completed the Nurses Supervised Practice Programme (SPP) and been awarded a full registration certificate on August 23, at the Holy Cross Cathedral.
Speaking during the ceremony, Hon. Dr. Culwick Togamana, Minister for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), alluded to the ceremony as yet another achievement by the Nursing Council of Solomon Islands and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
The Health Minister acknowledged his senior management team, led by the Permanent Secretary and Chair of the Nursing Council Board and members of the council, and all those who have been involved in leading and contributing to this program to ensure that nurses are registered under the relevant provision of the Nursing Council Act.
The Minister said the nurses, once recruited, will be distributed throughout the country to contribute to the overall delivery of clinical services via health facilities.
“The government recognizes the work of nurses as significant to the health and well-being of individuals, community groups, and the nation as a whole, given that our nurses form 70% of the workforce and are the backbone of our healthcare system.
“Without you, our system cannot stand. Thank you for choosing to do what you have been called to do and will do, for serving selflessly, for all the work that you will put in—the work we see, but especially what we do not see”, said Dr. Togamana.
He highlighted, as celebrated in May of this year, the 2023 International Nurses Day theme “Our Nurses. Our Future” which raises the need to learn from the best practices and lessons of the pandemic and translate these into actions for the future of nurses and nursing.
He said, “The lessons are evidence for change, and called for action and investments in nursing. It is time to look to the future and demonstrate what these investments will mean for nursing and healthcare. Given the experiences of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and looking into the future, MHMS, through the National Nursing Administration and the Nursing Council Board, with its stakeholders:
- Demonstrated the commitment of Solomon Islands nurses’ contribution to the overall health service delivery;
- ensured forging unity and renewed trust among nurses and the community
- Promoted the nursing profession to the young generation;
- Provided an opportunity for networking and collaboration among nurses, stakeholders, and the people; and
- Proposed reviewing the Nurses’ Supervised Practice Program to ensure effective and efficient preparation of nurses for registration and eventual recruitment.
He added that over the years, the government, through the MHMS, has continued to invest in the nurses supervised practice program (SPP) through annual funding support for the Nursing Council Board’s annual operational plans.
“This year, a total of $4.82 million dollars was allocated for the implementation of the program, with 33% of this coming from DFAT, and for this, we acknowledge the support from one of our key development partners, the Australian government”.
“I note that as of July last month, 89% of this allocation was already utilized for SPP. Additional funds to support the program for the rest of the year will be administered. This group of newly registered nurses is significant in that they are ready to support the South Pacific Games this year. I encourage the National Nursing Administration and the Human Resource Department, through the Permanent Secretary, to work together with the Ministry of Public Services to ensure the recruitment formalities of these nurses are facilitated expeditiously to ensure they are ready for the Games”, said Dr. Togamana.
He challenged the newly registered nurses to be servants of the people of this country.
“To serve means to be available when the call comes and when the need arises. It means to be steadfast with the unwavering commitment witnessed during the period of the SPP. As we speak, hospital wards, area health centers, and rural health clinics are still short-staffed. These facilities need nurses to provide health services to the people. Villages and communities need visits and outreach from nurses as an important component of primary health care. I am looking at you all and thinking that perhaps you may be the solution to the current inadequate staffing situation in the country.
“The new National Health Strategic Plan emphasizes the need to develop a National Workforce Strategy. This means that in the next nine years, the ministry must have the number of health workers needed to provide much-needed quality services to the people of this country. On behalf of the DCGA government, I wish to again acknowledge the Permanent Secretary and Senior Executive Management for overseeing the Human Resources management of the Ministry, the Nursing Council Board for ensuring regulatory processes of registration are achieved, the development partners and agencies for supporting the operational plans of MHMS, the line ministries for supporting the implementation of MHMS programs, and our stakeholders for the ongoing support to programs such as the nurses supervised practice program”, said Dr. Togamana.
The Health Minister concluded by paying a special tribute to the newly registered nurses and congratulating them for choosing this noble profession.
“In today’s ceremony, you will receive your Certificate of Registration, which now permits you to work on your own (unsupervised). Please accept and treat this noble profession as a lifelong training and a worthy experience, and continue treating patients with compassion as pronounced in the nurses’ pledge, where you would say: ‘…I promise to care for the sick with all the skills and understanding I possess… “, Dr. Togamana said.