The Nursing Council of Jamaica (NCJ) is now notifying the public particularly current and prospective nursing students, that it has been obliged to withdraw the approval status it had granted to the International University of the Caribbean (IUC) with respect to the Nursing Programme at Mel Nathan College.
In summary, the factual background is as follows:
- Since 2013 NCJ has been working with the IUC on the challenges it has been having in complying with the student teacher ratio and the ability to provide suitably qualified persons to deliver the nursing programme. NCJ has been patient with, and has assisted the University by sourcing and recommending qualified nurse educators for their employ.
- Since the resignation of the majority of its qualified nursing faculty in June 2016, NCJ has been having regular meetings with the Administrators of IUC on the need to replace the required cadre in order to maintain their approval status to offer the nursing programme. The initial meeting was held on June 17, 2016 and subsequent ones on July 5 and 13, 2016 respectively.
- Although several lists of prospective faculty were submitted to NCJ, there was never any credible evidence of the required qualifications, current licensure or contractual arrangement regarding the persons named.
- In a letter dated July 22, 2016, the administrators of IUC were warned that their approval status would be withdrawn if the requisite evidence of suitably qualified faculty was not submitted to NCJ by July 29, 2016 or on or before August 12, 2016. Up to the latter date, IUC failed to comply with the directive and so a Notice of Withdrawal of its Approval Status effective August 15, 2016 was issued on August 12, 2016.
- They were also advised that no new cohort of students should be admitted to the programme until they regained the approval to operate a school of nursing
- NCJ also requested that it be informed within forty eight hours how IUC planned to treat with the situation regarding the current groups of student nurses who were already in the programme because they cannot offer any aspect of the nursing programme while their approval status is withdrawn. To date there has not been a definitive response to the request.
- On August 17, the President of IUC sent a letter seeking further discussions with NCJ. Attached was another list with the names of some new prospective faculty without the requisite documents denoting their suitability.
- In a letter dated August 19, 2016 NCJ advised the President that if the University had by then engaged the services of appropriately qualified and licensed faculty members to deliver the nursing programme, the IUC should submit a written request for NCJ to conduct a verification visit.The letter also reminded IUC that its approval status had been withdrawn effective August 15, 2016 and until it was reinstated by NCJ, new students would not be indexed by NCJ, and by extension this meant that continuation of the programme for students who were already in the School would not be approved. To date, NCJ has not had an invitation to conduct a verification of compliance visit.
NCJ is the regulatory body under the Nurses and Midwives Act of 1964, charged with the responsibility to ensure that each person holding a licence as a nurse or midwife in Jamaica is qualified and competent to practice safely. The Act empowers NCJ to control and monitor the education and training of persons seeking to become and to practise as registered nurses, registered midwives and enrolled assistant nurses.
In that regard NCJ is mindful of its responsibility to ensure that all education and training institutions comply with the regulations and standards governing nursing and midwifery education and practise to protect the interest, welfare and safety of the public.