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Costaatt nurses protest
Frustrated with news that their practical clinical exams were postponed yet again, angry nursing trainees from the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of T&T (Costaatt) yesterday staged protest outside Costaatt’s South Learning Centre in Vistabella.
Wearing their uniforms and holding placards, the trainees marched in a circle chanting “We want instructors right now.” The students said that Costaatt had a reputation for churning out quality nurses but because of a shortage of clinical instructors they were unable to do exams.
Third year student Patrice Carrington said over 90 nursing trainees from Batch 21 were supposed to write their Level Two A Clinical exams last year. She explained that students were working on the wards of the San Fernando General hospital without the supervision of instructors. She explained that on three occasions the Level Two A exams were postponed, so they were unable to move on to Level Two B clinical exams. “We were told that we would have the exam today, but our co-ordinator informed us that it was postponed again and they have given us no word on when the exam will take place.”
Nigerian student Juliana Wuddivira said the postponement of exams meant that she would have to pay between $7,000 to $8,000 for each additional semester. Not being covered under the Government Assistance Tertiary Education (GATE) programme, Wuddivira said that she expected to finish the Associate Degree in Basic Nursing Education within three years. However, she said the continued postponement of exams meant that she would have to pay for an additional year of study through no fault of her own. Trevene Murren said for months, they have been enquiring about why clinical instructors were not being hired by Costaatt. She said if they did not take the Level Two A and B clinical exams, they would be unable to write their Nursing Council Regional exams to become registered nurses.
Contacted for comment, Head of Costaatt’s South Learning Centre Mervyn Pooran said four full-time clinical instructors will be hired before the end of the week. He explained that Costaatt was aware of the problem and was in the process of completing the hiring process.
Asked why the process took so long, Pooran said Costaatt had a difficult time in finding suitably qualified people for the job. He said that Costaat currently had two part time instructors. Once the hiring process was completed, exams would be rescheduled, Pooran said.