By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
TERREVE College has finally obtained a memorandum of understanding from the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) that will allow its nursing students to begin their practical training at the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama.
The institution's nursing programme has been suspended for the past eight months because the PHA would not sign off on the MoU even though the college had reportedly supplied all the necessary requirements to the institution.
Some 25 nursing students enrolled in the programme were unable to continue their training because they needed to complete practical training at the hospital before they could move to the next level.
Herbert Brown, managing director of PHA, previously informed The Tribune that the PHA was awaiting directives from the Department of Public Services before signing off on the MoU.
Terrence Archer, the founder/owner of Terreve College, said the eight-month delay has severely affected the institution and its nursing students, many of whom have now left the programme.
"We finally got the MoU," said Mr Archer this week. "Now that we have it in hand we have to now move forward to getting students into the Rand (for their practical training), but we are not able to do this right now because of the negative effects that were spooned onto the institution."
In June 2016, Terreve was removed from the Department of Public Services' list of approved recognised private tertiary institutions as a result of policy changes implemented by the department. The school applied for a judicial review and in October 2016, Supreme Court Justice Ian Winder ruled in favour of Terreve and ordered that the decision to revise the policy be quashed, which put the institution back in its initial position as an approved institution.
Despite the ruling, the PHA managing director would not sign off on the MoU and was awaiting directives from the Department of Public Services regarding the school's standing before proceeding with the agreement that would allow the second-year nursing students to receive their training at the hospital in Grand Bahama.
Mr Archer said many of the students have become discouraged. "We are trying to see how we can get the students to come back into the programme because as you know they have been waiting for quite some time, and of course, the spirit of discouragement has hit a lot of them."
There are currently nine students enrolled, but the institution needs a minimum of 15 to proceed with the programme.
Mr Archer said that school officials are doing their best to work with those returning nursing students.
"We had a meeting with them, and it was very positive, but all of the students did not come out. We had 25 students, and now we are down to just under half that - only nine showed up to the meeting. But they are excited and looking forward to getting back on the road to training," he said.
Even though Terreve has sorted things out with the MoU, it still has to satisfy other requirements.
"For the programme, we must have a minimum of 15 students, and we are short," Mr Archer said. "We are trying to see how we can encourage others to come back as some have left us and gone to other places into a lesser programme than we were offering."
Mr Archer said the institution is still reeling from the aftermath of what has happened over the past year.
Before June 2016, Terreve had an enrolment of over 400 students and had catered to 30 per cent of public servants.
Mr Archer said: "If we have 120 students we have a lot. We are running from behind and trying to catch up, and it is not easy. It put the institution under a lot of financial burdens because we had to make a lot of financial sacrifices on investment on our programmes so students can benefit."
He said small private tertiary institutions such as Terreve College play an important role providing an alternative for those students unable to meet the financial and other criteria required to enrol at the University of the Bahamas.
"Institutions like Terreve pick up the slack and we you have to be flexible to assist persons in obtaining training," he said.