By MIRANDA LA ROSE Friday, July 6 2012
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DON'T SPEAK: House Speaker Wade Mark (right) appears to be telling Anthony Welters, husband of US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Beatrice Wilkinson...
THE Nursing Council of Trinidad and Tobago’s (NCTT) registration examination had become outdated and removing this exam will not lower standards in the local nursing profession, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said yesterday.
“In fact,” he said, “these standards will be maintained by institutions that offer programmes that are accredited worldwide.”
Speaking after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) and the University of Utah, at the Ministry’s head office in Port-of-Spain, Khan said the registration exam had its genesis, during the early 1960s to accommodate nurses who were trained “in-house”.
“They needed an exam then. There were no accredited institutions at the time,” he said. On fears of a lowering of standards, Khan questioned why nurses from Cuba, The Philippines and St Vincent and the Grenadines who come to practise in TT, do not write the registration exam.
“Standards is a nice word to use when you don’t want to get something done and to have it your way,” he chided. Khan claimed that when he was introducing the ‘Aides to Nursing’ programme to assist in dealing with the acute local nursing shortage, the Council tried to block it by saying these aides would “water down the nursing system”.
“They tried their best to block the ‘Aides to Nursing’ programme,” Khan said, adding that as Health Minister he would not allow any lowering of professional standards in the health service.
“What makes the nursing council think they alone can develop standards?” Khan asked.
On the claim that Khan had not met with officials of the Council, Khan said: “Of course I met with them.” It was one of his first duties when he became Health Minister, he said.
On that occasion, Khan said he tried to explain to officials of the Council that writing two final exams — passing one and failing another — made no sense. The Council officials, he said, were strongly opposed to this view.
“If I didn’t meet with them, how come they got an audience with me and sent the ministry legal letters?” he asked. “Maybe I did not meet with them in the manner they would have liked me to meet with them.” Asked when he will meet with the nursing council, he said, “Very soon. I want to meet with them.”
He reiterated that no medical regulatory body and no professional regulatory body offers two final examinations. “What makes you so special that you must have a final exam after final exams?” Khan asked.