Thirty-five students graduating from the on-island American International Medical University, AIMU, set a regional record and marked yet another milestone for the institution of higher education.
AIMU’s ‘Class of 2012’ includes ten alumni qualified as Doctors of Medicine (MD), eight recipients of Associates Degrees in Nursing (ADN), one graduate receiving the qualification of Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) and sixteen awardees of certificates for Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN).
Vice President of Admissions and Students Services, PauleTurmel-John, on the occasion of AIMU’s 2012 graduation ceremony held on Tuesday, related that for the first time, graduates were able to complete their various course components on island.
“Now, what has happened in terms of the medical programme, as we see today, is that for the first time we have a graduating class completing the programme from start to finish in St. Lucia. That’s a very big achievement!”
According to Turmel-John, the graduation of eight students from AIMU’s programme awarding an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN), as well as the qualification of one student as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), form part of a milestone in the university’s progress, as these are the first students receiving qualifications from newly introduced courses.
The accomplishments of their students over the years have continued to thrust AIMU’s growth and vision as pioneers of higher education in St. Lucia. “We fill a need and people are looking at AIMU as a place of choice for doing their studies,” continued the Admissions Vice President.
“Many people pique an interest in medicine but the problem sometimes is finance – very often. The fact now is that we can do the whole medical programme here, to complete the accreditation, and that gives an additional impetus to do our medical programmes and pursue a medical career.”
Among the achievements highlighted was the distinction of being the only university in the Caribbean to secure a 100% pass rate, attained by the students who sat the regional nursing exam.
Executive Dean at AIMU, Dr. Raj S. Babu, explained that the successes of the university this time around, evident through their graduates, has been the result of a collaborative effort involving local medical practitioners and the Government of St. Lucia.
“It’s the third graduating ceremony where we established an exclusive working relationship with the Government of St. Lucia, the Ministry of Health, to enable our students to complete the whole programme here in St. Lucia. So this is a unique graduating class.”
“The fantastic opportunity, in a developing country, is that you have more clinical materials as a resource and obviously we explored that resource in St. Lucia. The Government of St. Lucia helped us with that opportunity for us to bring that to our students.
“It is also fantastic for our students because at Victoria Hospital – it’s a great learning place – there are experienced consultants who provide fantastic teaching.”
Dr. Raj indicates that despite the challenge of offering the complete course of study on island and the implementation of new programmes, numerous benefits can be expected for both the institution and St. Lucia.
“In future, the numbers will grow whereby the medical school is going to pump most of its money into the country itself, instead of taking the money out of St. Lucia and paying for a foreign alternative. So this is a great step and we pioneered that step.”
“For our nursing batch, we made a 100% pass rate with all our graduating students. This is a record for the Caribbean – none of the schools in the past had achieved this. It’s a fantastic achievement and I thank the nursing faculty and the students.
“Among these graduating from this batch, about five of them secured 100% in their results. Again, this is good news for AIMU and the Caribbean.
By Merissa Stephen
The Voice Saint Lucia