Nursing continues to evolve with introduction of enhanced technical skills, but according to Phyllis Woolford, director of the Department of Nurse Education, School of Science and Technology at the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC), "despite the technical evolution which is essential to improving the profession, what is even more critical, are the core tenets of compassion and an extended love for patient care."
Woolford, who has won acclaim for to her diverse knowledge in the field of nursing, spent more than three decades in active practice in the United Kingdom, where she qualified as a registered nurse. She latest gained additional qualifications in midwifery, health visiting and nurse education.
A wide cross-section of educational and medical institutions in the UK benefited from Woolford's expertise, including St Thomas' Hospital Florence Nightingale School of Nursing, Guys Hospital in London and the Royal College of Nursing.
"I managed the Intensive care Unit at the Westminster Hospital for over a decade, then proceeded to do health visiting which involved me in the community working with parents of children under the age of five," she said.
"A major part of my life in nursing was the real nursing care I was able to give to patients, particularly in the area of cardiology. Health visiting also provided me with a holistic type of experience in acute work and community practice."
Woolford was hired by the USC in 2006 to start the Department of Nursing which will be rebranded as the School of Nursing and Allied Health from September 2016. The department has attracted a lot of interest from students not only in T&T, but other parts of the Caricom Region.
"Student intake started at 25 students and the numbers have been increasing rapidly over the years with as many as 80 students in the 2015 intake. A competency document has been developed which guides the curriculum for students' clinical practice. Clinical Instructors are also engaged by the university to supervise students in the hospitals and health centres throughout the country," Woolford said.
The four-year degree programme includes theory in the first year, and a combination of theory and practice for the rest of the programme.
Woolford said she is at the USC is to make a difference in nursing. Her vision is to assist in developing a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP), which she is convinced will assist in improving nursing care across the region.