Pacific nurses gaining new skills and certifications thanks to critical care training program: Profile Series


The essential role of nurses in the Pacific has been put in the spotlight during the COVID crisis. These front line workers have taken on high levels of risk in a job that demands long hours and wide ranging medical expertise. To help support these important professionals, a new program has been developed for nurses to broaden their skills through a Post Graduate Certificate in Critical Care training.

The Pacific Community (SPC) is managing this effort through the Public Health Division Clinical Services Programme with funding support from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

In this series, we showcase some of the nurses that have successfully completed their Postgraduate Certification.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Nelly Samuel, and I am a registered Nurse at the Vanuatu Central Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Surgical Ward and have worked in this profession for the past 9 years. I am also one of the first nurses from Vanuatu to successfully complete this critical care online course.

How have you benefitted from this post graduate certificate in critical care training?

I have benefitted from this post graduate certificate by broadening my knowledge and upgrading my skills in working with critically ill patient admitted to the ICU. I would also like to acknowledge Australian College of Nursing (ACN) for this opportunity and not forgetting my tutors online for their tremendous support during my course study from beginning to end and through SPC’s support.

What were some of the challenges and how did you overcome this?

As a working student, I was faced with challenges of student study space; study tools such as laptop and printer, paper; internet data and short staffing and stress. However, I have overcome these challenges by having self-confidence, being positive and encouraged by others to complete this course. I am grateful to the support I received from my Nursing Manager for VCH, PNO, HR team and colleagues from the Vanuatu Ministry of Health (MOH) for supporting me to undertake this training. A special acknowledgement to: DR LEEPO Anaesthetist at VCH. During this challenging time, my family for has stood by me and encouraged me to continue till the end, which I am grateful for.

Why do you think nurses should take up specialised courses/trainings?

Nurses should take up specialised courses/trainings to enable them to upgrade and upskill in their area of work. It is also important because nursing has advanced to another level using technology such as ventilators. And putting nurses who have trained in general nursing does not guarantee that nurses will provide safe and quality care that patients need. Therefore, it is important that nurses pursue specialised courses/trainings.

Public Health