With all that has been going on both here and abroad, the virtual opening ceremony (see Thursday paper) for the School of Nursing at National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) should not go unnoticed. It regards a “newly revamped” programme in partnership with American University of the Caribbean (AUC) and –consequently – Chamberlain University in the United States.

AUC’s involvement shows how beneficial having such a medical school on the island can be in terms of synergy. Students, faculty and staff of the facility in Cupecoy are involved in various community and public service activities, but this may the most significant initiative yet regarding local impact.

It is obviously also timely, with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis putting an unprecedented burden on healthcare resources both human and material. Nurses will also be needed to help vaccinate people across the globe, a process that is likely to take many months.

But even before the pandemic, there had been a great demand for licensed nursing personnel in much of the world including this region. Graduates from the current inaugural class should not find it hard to get suitable jobs.

Moreover, the new hospital being built adjacent to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), is going to provide new employment opportunities. It is supposed to help elevate the level of care as well, a process already started and in which qualified professionals play a major role.

These developments are also important for the general wellbeing of the population. After all, what good is wealth without health?