Yesterday (2 November 2023) 141 newly registered nurses have successfully completed the Nurses Supervised Practice Program (SPP) and awarded their full registration certificates at the Wesley United Church.
Deputy Secretary Cooperate supervising Mr. Ivan Ghemu in his remarks at the ceremony acknowledged the Chair of the Nursing Council Board and members of the Council and those involved in leading and contributing to the program to ensure that nurses are registered under the relevant provision of the Nursing Council Act.
Mr. Ghemu said these nurses once recruited, they will be distributed throughout the country to contribute to the overall delivery of health and clinical services via the country’s health facilities.
Mr. Ghemu said the government recognizes the work of nurses as significant to the health and well-being of individuals, community group and the nation as a whole, given that our nurses form 70% of the workforce and is the backbone of our health system.
“Without you, our health system cannot stand. Thank you for choosing to do what you have been called to do and will do, for serving selflessly, for all the work that you will put in – the work we see, but especially what we do not see”, Mr. Ghemu said.
He also reminded the newly registered nurses of the 2023 International Nurses Day theme: “Our Nurses. Our Future”.
“This theme raises the need to learn from the best practices and lessons of the pandemic and translate these into actions for the future of nurses and nursing. The lessons are evidence for change and called for action and investments in nursing. It is time to look to the future and demonstrate what these investments will mean for nursing and healthcare”, said Mr. Ghemu.
Mr. Ghemu also highlighted that over the years, the government through the MHMS has continued to invest in the nurses supervised practice program through annual funding support to the Nursing Council Board Annual Operational Plans.
“This year, a total of $5.17 million dollars was allocated for implementation of the program with 31% of this coming from budget support by the government of Australia through DFAT. For this, MHMS acknowledge the ongoing support from one of our key development partners, the Australian government. I note that as of September, 91% of this allocation was already utilized for SPP. Additional funds to support the program for the rest of year is currently being worked on. The National Nursing Administration with the Human Resource Department will work together with the Ministry of Public Services to ensure recruitment formalities of these nurses are facilitated accordingly”, said Mr. Ghemu.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ghemu said a challenge to the newly registered nurses who are being commissioned is to be servants of the people of this country.
“To serve means to be available whatever time you are called and the need arises. It means to steadfast with the unwavering commitment as witnessed during the period of the SPP. As I speak, hospital wards, area health centers and rural health clinics are still short staffed. These facilities need nurses to provide health services to the people. Villages and communities need visits and outreach from nurses as an important component of Primary Health Care”, said Mr. Ghemu.
Meanwhile, Australia High Commission First Secretary for Health, Mrs. Elise Newton described the ceremony as a testament to the enduring partnership between the Solomon Islands Government and Government of Australia, a partnership in the health sector that has been unwavering in its support for the health workforce and in particular the Nursing Supervised Practice Program.
First Secretary Health said Australia is very pleased to have supported the Nursing SPP since 2016. She stated that the Australian High Commission in the Solomon Islands extends its heartfelt congratulations to the newly registered nurses and wishes the nurses their very best as they embark on their nursing careers in the country.
“For the two years 2022 and 2023 alone, we have contributed co-funding of SBD 2.3 million to the Nursing Council Board, completing the efforts of the Solomon Islands Government. We take immense pride in being able to support this activity – our nurses are indeed our future”, said Mrs. Newton.
Mrs. Newton said with the experience the newly registered Nurses obtained through the Supervised Practice Program paves the way for the completion of the final phase of their training, and ultimately registration with the Nursing Council Board, thus granting the privilege of independent clinical practice in public or private health facilities across the country.
“Australia’s support for the nursing workforce is one part of our broader efforts to assist the Solomon Islands Government to achieve its vision for the health system and implement the National Health Strategic Plan 2022-2031.
“Today, as we witness the registration of 141 nurses, we are confident that this milestone will have a positive impact on the healthcare workforce of the Ministry of Health, especially as we prepare for the South Pacific Games. The demand for your skills and dedication is greater now than ever before”, said Mrs. Newton.