Sixteen nurses have recently completed their nurse education programme in Gibraltar. The GHA have an on-going partnership with St George’s University of London and Kingston University London to provide training for a Gibraltar-based BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) and a Diploma in Higher Education (Nursing).

Four Enrolled Nurses were successful in achieving a Diploma in Higher Education (Nursing). After a two year, fulltime programme of study, they are all now employed fulltime in posts across the GHA. The twelve Staff Nurses who have completed their BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) degree are also all working within the GHA and ERS in full time positions.

Professor Ian Peate, Head of the School of Health Studies said: ‘This is yet another cohort of students who have risen to the challenges that our nurse education programmes demand of them. The programmes have been delivered to the highest professional standards by a team of committed clinicians and academics. Quality assurance standards were rigorous and overseen by St George’s University of London and Kingston University London. External assessment of theory and practice was undertaken by a UK university, ensuring healthcare education that is on a par with international standards.

Mrs Sandra Gracia Director of Nursing added: ‘When the World Health Organization designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honour of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, no one could have predicted it would coincide with the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic. Now, more than ever, 2020 has brought into focus just how important nurses are across the world. I am reminded of the way nurses always rise to the occasion, charging on, ready to fight another day. The world depends upon nurses for their ability to combine and balance technical expertise with the highest level of compassion. Such a balance permits nurses to adapt to change and to practice under pressure, whist working with the patient to achieve their health care goals.

Mrs Gracia welcomed the newly qualified nurses to the GHA saying they have all demonstrated an ability to undertake and commit to demanding programmes. These practice-related programmes with an academic underpinning, have helped these qualified nurses to develop their knowledge, skills and personal qualities that are essential in making an effective contribution to those people receiving care and support in Gibraltar. The programmes have met local and international standards and reflect our dynamic and forward thinking approach to health care provision within the GHA.

In addition,’ she added, ‘These nurses have played a central role in helping us in our fight during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have continued with their studies during a time of much change and uncertainty, adapting and responding to situations in a constant state of flux, skills that any nurse must possess and hone when caring for people with a diversity of needs in a range of care settings. For our nurses, it is who they are and what they do that matters, today and every day. Our nursing community stands united with our colleagues across the globe, as we all come together, today and every day to help those in their time of need. I thank you for your commitment and dedication and wish you much continued success as you commence your nursing career.

The Minister for Health and Care, the Hon Paul Balban said, ‘I am extremely proud of the great achievement of all of our newly qualified RGN’s and enrolled nurses who have successfully completed their degrees and diplomas respectfully. My most sincere congratulations to you all and to your teachers and mentors who have made possible your success. These locally based nursing programmes demonstrate, once again, Government’s commitment to provide the adequate training to prospective nursing staff. The BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) and Diploma in Higher Education (Nursing) are relevant, up-to-date and closely in touch with developments in the field. Our newly qualified nurses will make a vital contribution to the management of services now and in the future.