Regulations for Amended Nurses and Midwives Act soon

─ consultations to follow

─ will enable GNC to function optimally

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Guyana Nursing Council is meeting to develop regulations which will enforce the recently amended Nurses and Midwives Act of 2019. The Act was tabled in the National Assembly in October 2018 and passed by the National Assembly on January 3, 2019, to which President David Granger assented on January 23, 2019.

These regulations are expected to support sections within the Act which will empower the Nurses and Midwives Council as well as encourage professionals in this field to specialise and benefit from Continued Medical Education.

The council will meet on March 14 and 15 to have intense discussions, and suggestions made will later be advised upon by the legal officer in the health sector. Spearheading this discussion are Chief Nursing Officer and Chairperson of the council, Linda Johnson with Technical Advisor on Nursing to the Minister of Public Health and Vice-Chairperson of the council, Dr. Mandy La Fleur.

In a formal introduction to the discussion, Dr. La Fleur remarked that the ultimate goal of regulations regarding the nursing profession is to protect the public from an unfit person performing the duties of a nurse or midwife.

“Regulations refer to laws that define nursing practice, so it actually defines nursing practice and disciplinary measures. I want you to also note that nursing is regulated because it is one of the health professions that poses a risk of harm to the public if it practised by someone who is unprepared or incompetent,” she explained.

While she praised the initiative and the push of the Ministry of Public Health to ensure that the laws governing nurses have been revised, Dr. La Fleur added that regional and international standards for nursing must be maintained. This will ensure that local nurses are more competitive among their counterparts in other countries.

While we have the laws, these regulations are going to define in a precise way those rules and regulations for which nurses and midwives are going to practice in Guyana. Regulations must also fall within the standards of the regional nursing body with guidance from the International Council of Nurses and International Confederation of Midwives which set the standards for regulations on nursing around the world.”

Dr. La Fleur further stressed that regulations will not be implemented without consultation and awareness sessions among nurses and midwives in all health facilities throughout Guyana.

“The council’s business is not to penalise… We want to work with facilities, with the health personnel within Guyana to ensure there is compliance with standards and regulations that are enacted in the laws.”

Regulations for the Act serve as the governmental oversight which is provided for the nursing practice in Guyana. Chief Nursing Officer, Linda Johnson adding that there is much in the bill not just for the nursing council to execute its role effectively but for the nursing profession to benefit.

“The regulations are meant to be a guideline for us to set parameters and boundaries for the practice of nursing and so we would want to look at it carefully because there are different aspects in the bill… One of the things I will like to highlight is nurses can expect there to be more opportunities for them specialising and that has been one of the things that nurses are concerned about, developing their practice.”

This will essentially take the profession a higher level, encourage these professionals to function at a specified level based on the needs of specialities in the country and areas of interest where nurses may see to develop the profession.

It has been noted by the Technical Advisor on Nursing that, “We want to be able to take back our position in this region. Guyana was noted as one of the countries in the lead in terms of nursing regulation and policies.”

Delicia Haynes

Images: Marceano Narine