The Solomon Islands Helena Goldie College of Nursing has graduated 17 new diploma level nurses last week at United Church’s Headquarter in Munda, Western Province.

Dubbed the “Double 17 Graduation”, which involved 17 nurses graduating on 17 April, the ceremony was witnessed by the Minister of Health and Medical Services, Hon. Charles Sigoto and his Permanent Secretary, Dr Lester Ross together with top officials from the United Church, the Helena Goldie Nursing College, Provincial Government officials and parents and guardians of the graduands.

In his Key note address, Minister Sigoto said nurses’ play a very significant role in the provision of services in the country’s health system as they are positioned at all levels of the health systems and structure.

“Your successful completion of your studies will enable you to join this privileged group of health professionals and participate in this very important responsibility of serving our people,” Minister Sigoto told the graduands.

The graduation ceremony also involved the commissioning of the nurses and a professional pledge which now enables them to work elsewhere in the country as registered nurses.

The graduation of the 17 nurses will immensely contribute towards the NCRA Government’s national goal and commitment to the delivery of important social services like health which is critical to strengthening the socio-economic development in rural areas.

“We are your government and we will continue to do our very best in reaching out to you and providing you the necessary services that is of paramount importance to you,” Mr Sigoto said.

In the 1950s and 60s, the Helena Goldie Hospital (HGH) was running a Nursing school for a number of years with the help of tutors from overseas, mainly from New Zealand and Australia. The last batch of students of that school graduated in 1969, and the school was closed thereafter due to shortage of finance as well as tutors.

Then in 1971, a school for training Nurse Aides was established which trained candidates from all over Solomon Islands.

Since the past few years, the Management Committee as well as the Medical Board of Helena Goldie Hospital has felt the need for training more Diploma level Nurses and cutting down the number of Nurse Aides.

In 2006, a vision was born in the Medical Board meeting to upgrade the HGH-NATS to a College of Nursing by 2010.

That was the birth of what was then called "Vision 2010" and with the hard work and determination of all the staff of the school, as well as those in the hospital, and with the blessings of Solomon Islands' Nursing Council and the Ministry of Health, Helena Goldie College of Nursing (HGCON) was born, and the Vision 2010 has become a reality by the beginning of 2010.

Classes for the new Diploma Course have started on 8th February with 16 new students. The official launching of the college was organized on the 16th April, 2010 by the then Minister of Health and Medical Services Hon Clay Forau.
The first batch of diploma nurses from the college graduated in 2013 in a ceremony officiated also by Minister Sigoto.

Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit