The second program established by GHTK was the Neonatal Intensive Care Program in June 2012. It was the next step in the process of staff training to complement the Paediatricians who were going through the Paediatric Residency Program. The Program is delivered through the Institute of Health Sciences Education and is currently a hospital-based Certificate Program with duration of one (1) year with a three (3) year attachment to the Public Sector after Graduation. Funding is provided through GHTK with Faculty support from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
In developing the program, it was determined that it would apply a holistic approach to provide health and illness nursing care for neonates and their families. It places emphasis on neonatal and infant adaptation to various health alterations within a developmental context and includes environmental surveillance/risk reduction, evidence-based practice and education and support to families. The following is a summary of the course content:
- Nurses’ role in the care of the neonate
- Gestational age and physical assessment of the neonate
- Family-centred care
- Developmental care of the neonate
- Care of the high-risk neonate
- Pain assessment and management
- Neurologic, respiratory, cardiac, skin, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, endocrine, hematologic, and fluid and electrolyte alterations in neonates
- Infectious disease identification and management
- Environmental risk reduction
- Laboratory concepts
- Pharmacology and IV regulation
- Evidence-based practice, advocacy and communication
- End-of-Life care and responses with the neonatal patient and their family
The courses incorporates the standards of the American Nurses Association, Quality & Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Standards of Maternal and Neonatal Care, National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) Guidelines for Clinical Practice, and the Standards of Accreditation of Degree Nursing Programs in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Nurses are exposed to web-based and in-house teaching conducted by educators from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The Program is managed by Dr. Leif Nelin, Neonatologist/External Director; Nurse Caitlin Yeager, External Educator; Nurse Alexis Jones-Hooper, Local Educator, and Ms. Aruna Faria, Program Administrative Assistant.
The Program delivers didactic sessions three days a week for the first two (2) months and follows a preceptorship period, when sessions are reduced to once per week with more practical training within the NICU. As of December 2018, the Program had Graduated seventy (70) NICU Nurses from both GPHC and the regional hospitals in Guyana. The required passing grade is 65%.