A corps of Caribbean nurses will soon be even more skilled at providing care for children afflicted with blood disorders and cancers.
Drawn from Barbados, The Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the nurses recently enrolled in a specialized one-year Nursing Training Programme at the University of the West Indies School of Nursing in El Dorado, Trinidad and Tobago.
The training is part of a partnership with SickKids Caribbean and is being funded by the FirstCaribbean International Comtrust Foundation, the charitable arm of regional bank, CIBC FirstCaribbean.
The nurses, many of whom specialize in caring for children suffering with various forms of paediatric cancer and blood disorders, will form the first cohort in this segment of the training.
CIBC FirstCaribbean’s partnership with SickKids Foundation extends from the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Barbados in 2013 when the bank pledged to provide US$1,000,000 over a seven-year period to train medical professionals specializing in the care of paediatric patients affected by cancer or blood disorders such as sickle cell disease. The partnership is being undertaken in collaboration with the University of the West Indies.
SickKids Foundation is a charity registered in the Caribbean to, among other things, fund training for Caribbean medical professionals as part of the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI) through the Centre for Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada.
“Childhood cancer affecting our most vulnerable citizens is particularly heart-breaking,” said Trevor Torzsas, the bank’s Managing Director, Customer Relationship Management and Strategy and a Trustee of the FirstCaribbean International Comtrust Foundation.
“Unfortunately, some of the children of our employees have been touched by diseases like cancer and sickle cell anaemia. For us, therefore, this programme to provide improved care for our region’s children is personal,” he added.
“We were particularly pleased to join the list of contributors to this project as the Nursing Training Partner,” he said. “We consider it an honour to be a part of this programme, and we are excited at the possibilities it opens up for health care in the Caribbean.”
Director of Corporate Communications at the bank and Trustee of the FirstCaribbean International ComTrust Foundation Ltd, Debra King, said: “CIBC FirstCaribbean is pleased to be able to assist in this training initiative to better equip our already dedicated nurses here in the Caribbean, to take care of the region’s children.”
In addition to enhancing knowledge and skills in safely caring for patients with cancer and blood disorders, the training also focuses on caring for the whole family by recognizing that family is the constant in every child’s life. In addition, the moral distress nurses experience in caring for these patients will be addressed by teaching them coping strategies.
The overall objective of the initiative is to enhance the care for children in the region who are affected by cancer and blood disorders and ultimately increase the survival rates. The five-year plan that was developed by SickKids in association with their Caribbean partners addresses the region’s gaps in capacity to advance diagnosis and the treatment of paediatric cancer and blood disorders.
It also aims to create awareness throughout the region of childhood cancers and blood disorders.