Princess Royal visits Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing

08 March 2011

The Princess Royal tours the facilities.

The Princess Royal tours the facilities.

HRH the Princess Royal capped 37 young student nurses in a moving ceremony at the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Dhaka. 

The event was attended by Professor Pamela Gillies, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of GCU, Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor (External Relations), Professor Barbara Parfitt, Nursing College Principal, and representatives from the British High Commission. 

Before the ceremony, Princess Anne was taken on a tour of the college, meeting students and staff and viewing the facilities, including the simulation laboratories where she found out more about the use of technology in rural areas. 

Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing was established as part of the partnership between GCU and Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, is to address the health needs of Bangladeshs most disadvantaged communities.

Capping is a traditional rite of passage in the nursing profession, performed when students complete their preliminary studies and are deemed ready to undertake clinical practice.

Professor Pamela Gillies said: It was an event I felt extremely privileged to attend and the founding College Principal, our own Professor Parfitt, has worked a miracle to establish a professional Nursing College with accredited courses in just one year.  

"As a solid partner in this development with the Grameen Trust, the University has collaborated to provide educational opportunities for young women from rural Bangladesh who would never have otherwise dreamed of a professional education.  

"During the capping of the nurse leaders of the future, these young women solemnly pledged to work to reduce suffering and disease and promote health across their nation.  Princess Anne gave a rousing speech praising their courage and commitment and it is a day the student nurses, Professor Parfitt, all her staff, Professor Stanton, Professor Yunus, Nobel Laureate, and I, will remember for many years to come.

Professor Parfitt, who is Director of Global Health Development at GCU, has worked hard to establish the College - from setting up and refurbishing the building, to establishing policies and systems and travelling around India to recruit the first cohort of 40 students.

Bangladesh currently has more doctors than trained nurses and high maternal and child mortality statistics. The college will help tackle this by raising nursing and midwifery standards in the country to an international standard, through drawing on GCUs strong track record in delivering high-quality nursing and midwifery education in emerging nations, and on professional experience as a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre.