National Nursing Advisory Committee, Bahamas
In the Bahamas, nurse leaders recognized a need to meet regularly to discuss key issues that cut across the public and private nursing sectors in the country and to then take recommendations for changes in current nursing policies and or legislation to the Ministry of Health.
As a result, Marcel Prisca Johnson, Chief Nursing Officer in The Bahamas, established a National Nursing Advisory Committee made up of representatives from the public and private health services, professional nursing organisations, schools of nursing and regulatory bodies. The Committee discusses topical issues such as the status of the draft Repeal of the Nurses and Midwives Act; a new Post- Basic Nursing Programme; the development of a Strategic Plan for Nursing in The Bahamas; and a needs assessment for nurses under a National Health Insurance Plan. A recent example of collaboration within this committee was when the Ministry of Health requested The University of The Bahamas to conduct a Midwifery Diploma Programme for registered nurses. As a member of the Advisory Committee, the Vice President of Patient Care Services from a private hospital was able to request two spaces for nurses employed at that institution.
Pivotal in setting the strategic direction for nursing in the country, the Advisory Committee has made significant gains in progressing the nursing profession and its impact on improving the health of individuals and communities.
The work has impacted legislation (including a repeal of the Nurses and Midwives Act 1971), set minimum standards of nursing education, and established policy positions on the roles of nurses in the provision of Universal Health Coverage.