Training for Health Professionals

10 Sep, 2013

Graduates of the Nephrology Nursing Programme
Graduates of the Nephrology Nursing Programme

“The CHASE Fund recognizes that the professionals who serve in the health sector play an integral role in ensuring the delivery of quality care. Therefore, even as it seeks to upgrade the physical infrastructure of the island’s health institutions, the Fund has also focussed on enhancing the skills of professionals by supporting ongoing training and promoting higher learning, in order to ensure the sustainability of its investment.”
– W. Billy Heaven, Chief Executive Officer, CHASE Fund

In its 10 years, CHASE has expended some J$71million for specialist training programmes mounted under the auspices of the Ministry of Health; and scholarships to promising practitioners in various health-related disciplines.  

Ministry of Health’s Oncology Nursing Programme

With the increasing incidence of cancer around the world, the demand for specialist care is also increasing. This reality prompted the CHASE Fund to grant J$995,708 in 2011 to help offset the full cost for a four-week international clinical training experience in which two oncology nurses participated under the auspices of the Ministry of Health. Oncology nursing is a specialist field which is dedicated to providing quality cancer care. Professionals in this discipline are Registered Nurses (RNs), who have received additional training and who may opt to work in any of the many areas of care which include, cancer prevention, community outreach initiatives to encourage early detection, and end-of-life care.

The exposure overseas was a part of the two-year Nursing degree programme which both nurses were pursuing at the University of the West Indies.  The CHASE Fund’s contribution has had a multiplier effect as, on their return to Jamaica, the two nurses also trained their colleagues in this field.

Ministry of Health’s Nephrology Nursing Propgramme

Ministry of Health statistics indicate that an estimated 2,500 persons were afflicted with renal disease in 2007 and that dialysis units in the public health sector were inadequately staffed to serve the increasing number of patients. The statistics further reveal that there were only10 registered nurses in Jamaica who were certified in nephrology, which focuses on the renal health of patients; and these professionals were assigned at the Mandeville Regional, Spanish Town, Kingston Public, Cornwall Regional and University Hospitals, with the personnel to patient ratio being 1-4, compared to the ideal of 1-3.

An initiative by the Ministry of Health to train 55 nurses in nephrology over a two-year period between 2010 and 2012, in an effort to address this situation, was supported by the CHASE Fund which provided the J$5 million requested to help offset the cost of the programme. The course covered haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, transplantations, slow replacement therapies, as well as, medical and surgical nursing.

Partnering with JSB to Build Capacity in the Field

A workshop to train parents and volunteers in the effective management of blind and visually-impaired pre-school children in the home was among other capacity-building initiatives financed by the CHASE Fund with a grant of J$786,000.

Conducted by the Jamaica Society for the Blind, the workshop was part of a strategic programme to prepare children between 0 and four years for enrolment in the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually-Impaired; and emphasis was placed on equipping the youngsters to lead independent lives. Early intervention, the detection of common eye disorders that can cause blindness, training in motor, physical and other development skills, as well as misconceptions about blindness were among the areas addressed.

Assistance for Training in Clinical Forensic Psychiatry

The mental health, as well as the criminal justice and social services in Jamaica have been boosted with the inclusion of Forensic Mental Health as part of the Psychiatry Residency Programme offered by the University of the West Indies (UWI), which also operates a Forensic Psychiatry Clinic.

Clinical Forensic Psychiatry involves the assessment and treatment of mentally ill persons who engage in anti-social behaviour and/or criminal activities, to their detriment and that of the wider society.

Jamaica’s first specialist in this field, Dr. Clayton Sewell, earned the Master of Science degree in Clinical Forensic Psychiatry from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College in London in 2009.  His studies were financed through a J$2.5 million scholarship from the CHASE Fund which covered tuition and living expenses for the duration of the 18-month course.

Dr. Sewell is currently sharing his advanced skills to assist students and professionals in the field; as well as patients, both as a Lecturer and Consultant at the UWI; and also, through sessional services to the Department of Corrections.    

Improving Cardiothoracic Services – Dr. Sunil Stephenson’s Goal

The large number of patients on the waiting list for cardiothoracic surgery by one of the three specialists in the government service – assigned to the University Hospital of the West Indies, the National Chest Hospital and the Bustamante Hospital for Children – prompted Dr. Sunil G. Stephenson to pursue postgraduate elective studies in this discipline.

With the help of a J$1 million a year scholarship from the CHASE Fund, Dr. Stephenson has been gaining valuable experience and is further honing his skills in a two-year training programme at the Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, which he entered in September 2011. This institution handles more than 1,200 open heart cases annually; and also performs more than 800 lung resections for cancer and other conditions each year.

Dr. Stephenson looks forward to playing his part in enhancing service delivery in this field.

CHASE Scholarship – A Big Difference for Dr. Franz Pencle 

Dr. Franz Pencle, who recently returned to Jamaica following an 18-month elective in Canada, is grateful for the opportunity which CHASE provided for him to complete his training in Neurosurgery on a scholarship valued at J$3.56 million.

With spine-related conditions accounting for some 60% of the neurosurgical cases handled at the University Hospital of the West Indies, where he is assigned, Dr. Pencle developed his skills in complex spine and minimally invasive spine procedures during the study programme. He was also exposed to the many other areas of this discipline, including Cerebrovascular Surgery, Paediatric, Tumour, Skull Base, Functional Neurosurgery and Trauma.

Dr. Pencle’s scholarship was tenable at the Queen Elizabeth 2 Infirmary and the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital, which are attached to the Dalhousie University’s Neurosurgery Programme – one of the top three training courses in that discipline in Canada.