Solomon Islands National University Nursing Students Not performing to the required Standards : Report

The Nursing students from the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) on training at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) are reportedly not performing to the required standards, the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reporsts.

SIBC News has been allegedly informed of the issue by Medical staff at the NRH whom they wish to remain anonymous.

Solomon Islands National University Nursing Students Not performing to the required Standards. Photo by SIBC

“It is worrying that SINU second year nursing students are yet to familiarize themselves with medical records and even medications.”

They alleged that training nurses are yet to fully understand the level of nursing services required of them. 

Concern was also raised on the issue that during shifts, a registered nurse or doctor usually has 5 to 7 trainees under their supervision. 

A patient said that it is common to see 5 to 8 training nurses at one time attending one doctor or registered nurse. 

However, students’ absence from shifts is also a setback faced by supervising doctors and nurses while some students also confirmed that it is a common practice for some students to miss their shifts. 

“I saw one of the registered nurses fill in one of the student’s shifts just because they were good friends.” 

But the absence of supervisors also contributes to the slow learning of the students.     

“During my shift at the labor ward I was just standing on the side as one of the mothers developed health complications and there was nothing I could do as the nurse I was on duty with didn’t show up until 3 hours later,” a student told SIBC News.

Absence of supervisors mostly occurs during the night shifts, the students said. 

Meanwhile, the Faculty of Nursing, Medicine and Health Sciences at the Solomon Islands National University has denied allegations that its nursing students who were on training at the National Referral Hospital lack the understanding of nursing.

Dean, Mrs Verzilyn Isom said following claims that nursing students who are under training at the hospital are performing poorly.

Mrs Isom said that the Faculty has 28 academic teaching staff and an estimated enrollment of  600 students. 

She admitted that the school has received criticisms from the hospital’s medical practitioners that the school’s student intake is beyond the hospital’s resources.

She refuted these claims saying that shifts at the hospital should not be an issue.

 “Shifts at the NRH have seven students for the AM and PM shifts for each ward; this number will be further divided, three to the male side and four to the female side. As such I do not see any congestion or load of duties for the doctors and nurses, they only supervise 3 to 4 students per clinical setting, the NRH and all clinical settings are training institutions and all should team up for the training of students competence,” she said.  

She added the University trained clinical mentors and the nurses at the hospital who supervises the students were once upon a time a student at the University. 

Meanwhile, the Nursing Dean calls on medical practitioners at the hospital to work together with the students in providing nursing services to patients.


NRH Nursing Director, Father Selwyn Hou, told SIBC News that the concerns raised by the doctors and nurses are ongoing issues faced by NRH. 

He said on more than one occasion he had to pull out SINU trainee nurses from his staff and send them to different wards as 15 students showed up for a shift.

“I only have five clinical supervisors and one nurse instructor per ward, the large number of trainee nurses per shift for one doctor and registered nurse see others being left behind in terms of practical learning. Overload on Doctors and nurses take place because of the large number of patients they need to attend adding on to this they also look after at times around 10 trainee nurses as well,” Father Hou said.

He said a good number of student nurses have met the expectations and performed really well however, it is concerning that many are not performing up to the nursing standard.

He explained SINU’s lateness in producing students’ procedure assessment booklets before they send them on their attachments contributes to these issues.

“We cannot totally rule out that our medical staff have also been involved in getting some students fill their required hours and work without actually working, SINU failure in producing the students’ procedure assessment booklets before their practical see responsible staff signing off on students records without fully aware if that student has met the requirements needed,” he said.

Father Hou said SINU’s nursing data which stated that there are 5 or less training nurses for the morning and afternoon shifts is different from what is going on at NRH.

Nursing supervisors’ absence during night shifts probably do occur however he said supervising nurses were allocated for three shifts which ended in the morning. 

“Full wards which is mostly the case all year round affects the trainee nurses shifts as the registered nurses prioritize their patients during the round in the absence of the nurse instructor, due to their busy rounds a shadow nurse is on hand to help the students.’’

The Nursing Director said the NRH currently has around 345 staff and this includes administration staff,  specialist clinic personnel working in 26 departments.

15 of the 26 are inpatient departments responsible for admitted patients currently admitted to the hospital.


Director Hou said reducing the number of nursing intake through a strict process will help address the issue faced by nurse trainees at NRH.

“During our time we were interviewed by the nursing council before one is admitted to the nursing school, with the current system that is not the case. It would be better if the system also involves the nurses at NRH in terms of reviewing and interviewing potential applicants for the nursing program.” 

But Mrs Isom informed SIBC News that FNMHS ‘role in the registration process is to counsel and recommend units that should be included in the enrollment form. 

SIBC News understands potential nursing students were interviewed before they were enrolled in the program.     

Father Hou said learning delivery in the past focused mainly on knowledge through practical learning than theory. 

“During our time we had to do six months of community attachment. We learn everything and try as much as possible to master everything, now the time period has been reduced to around 2 months, this contributes to poor student output,” Mr Hou said.

He added SINU needs to have a system in which they check their students during their training period at NRH as no Clinical Tutor or staff from SINU is there to monitor the students.

“We have other doctors, nurses from the provinces also on training attachments at the hospital with an already spread-out staff. We are currently under-resourced to deliver effective training to the students,” he said.    

Under the current system NRH is solely responsible for the students’ performance during their practical period.

NRH reported that SINU nurse trainees need to improve in their performances compared to students from the Pacific Adventist University, Atoifi Nursing Campus in Malaita province which are enrolling less than a-hundred students.  

“Despite the country’s need for more nurses we want quality and not quantity” Father Hou said.

The need to have nursing lectures with more experience in the nursing field needs to be addressed. 

These issues were raised with the nursing council back in 2019 until last year. 

NRH Chief Executive Officer, Dr George Malefoasi told SIBC News via email that a meeting has been scheduled for the 29th of this month to discuss ways in addressing these issues with SINU authorities.

By Sharon Nanau/ SIBC

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