Nov. 10, 2003 – The Caribbean Nurses Organization held its first convention for students recently, and 11 persons enrolled in the University of the Virgin Islands associate degree nursing program on the St. Croix campus took part.
They were joined by nursing students from many of the organization's 26 other member countries and territories for the gathering, held on Oct. 24-25 in Antigua. The convention marked the CNO's 46th year and the opening of its new directorate there.
Joanna Santana, vice president of the Student Nurses Association chapter on the St. Croix campus, found that challenges facing the nursing profession in the territory are common throughout the Caribbean, according to a UVI release. Among them: low salaries, the migration of trained nurses and a lack of male nurses.
Paulette Jarvis, St. Croix chapter president, said the V.I. students bonded with the many other student nurses through interaction at the convention. "If we work together from the beginning, we will succeed together," she said.
Indeed, one of the topics of discussion at the gathering was the formation of a Caribbean Nursing Students Organization as an offshoot of the CNO.
The UVI students gave a role-playing presentation they titled "Nurse, is my blood pressure OK?: Teaching your patients the meaning and importance of systolic and diastolic." The four scenarios illustrated techniques of communicating health information to patients.
Joan Marsh, chair of the St. Croix campus Nursing Division, said the convention "was an excellent opportunity for the students to become involved in a professional organization at the very beginning of their career." She expressed the hope that "they will continue their active involvement" once they are in the field, supporting the territorial and regional professional groups.
The other UVI students who took part were Jennifer Chancellor, Judy Christian, Gena-Del Cole, Ivelisse Colon, Alicia Emmanuel, Kinara Gresham, Shatla James, Kenice Pemberton and MaryJane Katowa. They were accompanied by Marsh and St. Croix nursing faculty member Janzie Allmacher.
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