You are on page 1of 6

HISTORY OF NURSING

IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF NURSING IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 1822 -


PRESENT.
(TAKEN FROM C.O.S.T.A.T.T. LIBRUARY)

PERIOD OF SLAVERY
In the 19th century these were the presence of nursing in the plantation “hospitals” on sugar
estates during slavery for the provision of nursing care. They were trained nurses from England.

1822:- A proclamation was signed authorizing the levying of a legacy duty in Trinidad to
construct a building for medical attendants in Port Of Spain.

1837:- Temporary Colonial Hospital established on Cambridge Street (upper St. Vincent Street
between Park And Oxford Streets) in an old cinema,

1848:- The General Board of Health was instituted which formed the embryonic stage of Public
Health in Trinidad.

1850’s:- Nurse Florence Nightingale was proclaimed “Lady of the Lamp” by soldiers during the
Crimean War for now intense nursing practise to the casualties.

1860:- The Lunatic Asylum was established in Belmont for the mentally ill.

1861:- The Colonial hospital, San Fernando was instituted at the old Army Barracks (the old
Ante- Natal Clinic) on the present hospital compound.

1889:- Post of Matron in charge of the kitchen was included in Nursing Structure

1893:- The position of Superintendent of Nurses was approached as Colonial Hospital.

1898:- Training of Midwives was provided through the Medical Board Ordinance for women
who could read and write. These women were licensed as midwives after being in attendance of
(10) cases of labour.
SONG- FREEDOM.

Period 1930-1959
ESTABLISHMENT OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REGISTERED NURSES
ASSOCIATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF NURSING COUNCIL OF TRINIDAD

1930:- Certified Nurses Association of Trinidad and Tobago was founded at the Colonial
Hospital, San Fernando.

1932:- Trained Nurses and Midwives Association was inaugurated at Port Of Spain Colonial
Hospital

1933:-Both Nurses Association made continual representations to local authorities and several
Committees and Royal Commissions sent from the Colonial Office in England to enquire into
matters affecting Nursing. Members gave evidence before these commissions.

1934:- Medical Officers organised a course of lectures in Public Health Nursing based on a
modified syllabus of the Royal Sanitary Institute. Participants paid for this education and
attended same on their personal time. This was the first structured programme in Public Health
Nursing Education.. Royal West India Commission recommended that increase attention should
be paid to the training of nurses by such methods as the appointment of Sister Tutors and
Centralization of training institutions.

1935:- Name of the Lunatic Asylum was changed to Mental Hospital. Appointment of a Specific
Board to standardize educational qualifications for entry into Nurse Training. Ward Sisters were
appointed from among the trained nurses at the hospitals.

1938:- Memorandum submitted by both Nurses Association to the West India Royal
Commission (MOYNE COMMISSION) recommending Registration for Nurses.
First unqualified Sister Tutor was appointed from Overseas Nursing Service to teach at Colonial
Hospital, Port of Spain.

1940:- The first scholarship for nurses was granted for representatives of each of the two
Associations to study at the West India School of Public Health Jamaica. The granting of such
scholarships was later assumed by the Government.

1943:- Both Nurses Association again prepared a draft bill to provide registration of nurses in the
Colony.

1944: Recommendations of the Russell Committee were:


1. District Nurses to be trained as Health visitors
2. Provision of an approved full time programme for Health Visiting.
3. Restoration of a three (3) year period of training for nurses recommended.
4. Upgrading the minimum educational standard for entry into nursing to a School
Certificate.

1952: Recruitment programme conducted by Nursing Council to attract suitable candidates from
secondary school into nursing.

1953:- Ms. Marjorie Houghton M.B.E. Education Officer, General Nursing Council of England
and Wales insisted the hospitals to evaluate the quality of training for the purpose of granting
Reciprocal Registration with the General Council of England and Wales.

1954:- First locally trained nurses to be appointed as Senior Nursing Sister (Nursing
Supervisors.) New Colonial Hospital, San Fernando completed.

1955:- Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret officially opened Colonial Hospital, San
Fernando.

1956:- Director of Medical Services Established an Educational Committee to formulate a


comprehensive policy on Nursing Education to meet the varied needs of hospitals in the colony.
This committee recommended the establishment of Central Preliminary Training School.
Student nurses were no longer sent to gain experience in district hospitals.

1957:- First qualified Sister Tutor appointed at Mental Hospital, St.Ann’s


Nursing Council Ordinance amended to include the training and registration of male nurses,
mental nurses

1958:- Full Reciprocity obtained for locally trained nurses with Nurses with Nursing Council of
England and Wales. Minister of Health, Water and Sanitation held a meeting with all qualified
Sister Tutors to discuss issues relating to the Professional Nurses under the exiting conditions.
“Resulting from this a committee was set up to provide all three nursing schools with equipment;
libraries and other resources which included structural improvements to one of the schools.

1959:- Sister Tutor represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Conference of Nursing
Administrators sponsored by the Federal Government in cooperation with British, Guyana,
British Honduras, it was held in Barbados. The Association was also represented, this
Conference wrote a Charter for the future direction of nursing in the Caribbean.
Preliminary examination of Nursing Council was conducted in Part 1 and Part 2 for student
nurses. Nurse Practitioner programme discussion commenced.
Staff Development programme in Primary Health Care and the Role of the Nurse.
Song: Protrait of Trinidad – Distribution of Awards1960-1979.

PERIOD 1960 – 1979


FROM COLONIALISM TO INDEPENDENCE

1960:- PERIOD OF CIVIL RIGHTS, WOMEN LIBERATION, UNREST AMONG TRADE


UNIONS, STRIKES IN THE SUGAR AND ENERGY BELTS.
Three shift systems was introduced after instance protest action by nurses at Colonial Hospital,
Port of Spain, Nurses joined P.S.A. en mass. Male applicants were accepted for nursing training.
Revision of Nursing Syllabus to include Behavioural Sciences and experience in Obstetrics.
Central Preliminary Training School established at Colonial Hospital, San Fernando.
At the end of six months students were transferred to their respective hospitals as stated in their
applications, for continuance of their training. First two Health Visitor Tutors were appointed,
Public Health Nursing Education formalised. Nursing Council Ordinance no#33 was assented by
Governor Solomon Hochoy giving the Nursing Council of Trinidad and Tobago the right to train
and examine Midwives.

1961:- STEEL BAND CLASH- In front of the Colonial Hospital Port of Spain masquerades
sought refuge by literally occupying patient’s beds in several wards and attempting to enter
rooms in the Nursing Hostel. First locally trained nurse appointed Matron Of San Fernando
General Hospital. Nursing Recruitments and Publicity Committee appointed by the Minister of
Health was merged with the Education Committee and renounced Nursing Education and
Recruitment Committee. First examination for mental nurses conducted by Nursing Council of
Trinidad and Tobago. Name of Mental Hospital changed to St. Ann’s Hospital. First ever Public
Services Association march, a senior nurse who took part was threatened with disciplinary
actions.

1962:- INDEPENDENCE – SONG: ‘GOD BLESS OUR NATION’: NATIONL FLAG


Nursing Council Ordinance AMENDED TO ADMIT MIDWIVES ON THE REGISTRAR.
Central Block (expansion of Colonial Hospital Port of Spain.)was occupied.

1964:- First local matrons appointed to Port of Spain and San Fernando Hospitals.
Names of the two major hospitals changed to GENERAL HOSPITAL OF PORT OF SPAIN
AND SAN FERNANDO HOSPITAL RESPECTIVELY.

1966:-First Principal Nursing Officer appointed at Ministry of Health. First Nursing


Superintendent (Curative) appointed at Ministry of Health. These two positions together with the
Supervisor of Public Health Nursing formed Nursing Division in Health.

1966-68:- Dr. Stella Landeau P.A.H.O. representative conducted the first Quantitative &
Quantitative Survey into the needs and resources of nursing. Some of the recommendations led
to the establishment of the Nursing Division, Ministry of Health and the expansion of
Community nursing Services.
1966-69:- BLACK POWER MOVEMENT – BECAME MORE VISIBLE.NURSES WERE
THREATENED BY THIS ORGANISATION’S ACTIVIST DURING THIS PERIOD.

1967:- The six month nurse training programme (CPTS) was discountinued and the three
hospitals re-commenced their individual nursing programmes.

1970:- BLACK POWER MOVEMENT- “P.O.S. ON FIRE”


“Teteron rumbling” CURFEW IN TRINIDAD. Disaster management principles instituted at Port
of Spain General hospital. Longer shift hours of work for nurses. Nurses Impasse for better
working conditions. Nurses representatives in the P.S.A. had audience with the Prime Minister
on Nursing issues. Nurse’s uniform changed to white in colour for all grades. Uniforms laundry
and shoe allowances were instituted. Oil BOOM – Upgrading of infrasture of Health Care.
Construction commenced on Mount Hope Complex.

1974:- Institutional Nurses at Port of Spain protested the acceptance of participants for Health
Visitor’s programme. The protesting nurses were warned by Public Service Commission for their
stance.

1976:- Trinidad and Tobago obtained Republic status

1976-1978:- Development of First curriculum for General School of Nursing with assistance of
P.A.H.O. Introduction of Nursing Education.

1977:- First local nurse awarded I.C.N.’S 3M International Nursing Fellowship award which
enabled her to pursue post graduate studies leading to a Master’s Degree in Nursing.
Nurses at San Fernando General Hospital, boycotted the hospital’s dining room because of poor
sanitary conditions. During that period nurses were prepared by P.S.A. at their premises and
transported to the hospital in time for serving.

1978:- Declaration of AMA ATA- Health for all by year 2000- focus on Primary Health Care
and two Health Centres were constructed to achieve this goal.
STAFF DEVELOPMENT COMMENCED AT PORT OF SPAIN GENERAL HOSPITAL AND
INTRODUCED AT SAN FERNANDO GENERAL AND ST. ANN’S HOSPITAL SHORTLY
AFTER.

PERIOD 1980-2000
STRENGTHENING THE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACH TO
NURSING – INTRODUCING QUALITY ASSURANCE AND MANAGEMENT
STRATEGIES IN NURSING.