IT was a momentous occasion for the Spartan Health Sciences University School of Medicine, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine on Wednesday, when it launched its veterinary programme, during its usual White Coat ceremony, where 42 new students were formally enrolled.
The ceremony also saw the students reciting the Hippocratic Oath, which outlined their obligation and matters relating to their conduct, as physicians in training. It reads in part: “I reckon all those who have taught this art equally dear to me and in the same spirit and dedication to impact knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast with advances in medicine. I will treat without exceptions all those who seek my ministrations…”
Spartan which was established here in 1980 is one of the first off shore medical schools in the region, and the first to establish a veterinary programme in St. Lucia. A few years ago, the school introduced a nursing programme which has attracted students both, locally and regionally. This year the school has extended its admission to international students.
Director of Veterinary Medicine at the school, Dr. George Joseph gave an insight into what the programme entails and emphasized the importance of veterinarians in any society.
He lamented that a number of persons in the medical profession do not appreciate the importance of veterinarians in society.
“They are ignorant of our role…They need to work closely with us to address certain health issues,” Dr. Joseph said.
According to him, there are tremendous opportunities for veterinarians in various sectors of society, which many people are not aware of.
The Clinical Nursing Coordinator at the school, Mrs.LeliaHarracksingh, said Spartans nursing programme has flourished under its competent, highly qualified and trained individuals.
“One of the greatest achievements for the year, 2014, was acquiring the approval from the Saint Lucia General Nursing Council, after a rigorous review of the programme by the council, which allows our students the opportunity to write the Caribbean Regional Licensure exam, known as the Regional Examination for Nurse Registration (RENR).
She said nursing forms a comprehensive part of the health sector of any country and needs to be appreciated.
“Nursing is a unique profession which sets a high standard for the well-being of a nation. Nurses are at the forefront of all that is required for a healthy society. They act not only as caregivers, but also as counsellors, advisers, teachers, mothers and fathers,” she said.
Mrs.Harracksigh added that nurses can also be seen as a link between doctors and patients, noting that doctors prescribed the medicine and the nurses administered it to the patients.
“Hence it is of paramount importance that they work as a team to ensure a better management of patient care” she said.
Associate Professor and head of the Department of Biochemistry at the University, Dr. Rajeev Pandey applauded the students for choosing medicine as their profession, describing it as a wonderful profession.
“You are embarking on and amazing an interesting journey. It will broaden your horizon and deepen your thinking,” Dr.Pandey said.
He urged the students to take their work seriously, stressing the importance of working as a team.
Director of the University, Dr. A.C. Rao said he wanted to see the University become the best medical University in the world, describing its programmes as very successful.
“We want to make sure we have the best nurses, medical and veterinary doctors ” he said.
Minster of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation, Alva Baptiste expressed much confidence in the school’s programmes.
“Spartan has pioneered changes in this country, not only for the Caribbean but for the entire world”, he said.
He described the initiative of introducing veterinary programme at the school as” forward, progressive and positive thinking.”