St Mary honours retired midwife
ANNOTTO BAY, St Mary:
Retired midwife Iris Vassell Murray was last week honoured with an appreciation award for her 36 years of committed service to the parish at the St Mary Health Department's annual general meeting.
Vassell Murray, 60, was born in Islington, St Mary, and as a youngster recalls being inspired to become a child and maternal health-care expert after several encounters with the local midwife who visited her community.
She told Rural Xpress: "When I was going to school, I remember seeing this nurse in her white uniform going to the homes. I didn't know the difference between a registered nurse and a registered midwife, but because of what I saw her doing, how she conducted herself within the communities, and how immaculately she dressed, I wanted to be like her.
"When I was 24 years old, I was working in a basic school and applied to the Kingston School of Nursing. That was my calling. It was sent from God for me to be a midwife because some people took long to go through the application and interview process, but within three weeks, I was training to be a registered midwife.
"I came directly to primary care on July 1, 1979, and worked at Long Road in Annotto Bay as a district nurse. Back then, we had to work and live in the same area. We did a lot of home deliveries and conducted antenatal, child health, and family planning clinics."
Having reached the highest level of midwifery, Vassell Murray possesses a wealth of knowledge about birthing and reproductive health, but what is the single most important lesson she has learned during her illustrious four-decade career?
ACCEPTANCE OF PEOPLE
Without hesitation, she replies: "Accept people for who they are. In our day-to-day activities, we meet a lot of people. Some of them have nothing, but it is not for us to scorn them. I try to treat people equally.
"Even as recently as this week, I was called to do a home delivery. I was very tired, but because of my love and compassion for people, I went; and I'm glad I did because that lady needed me.
"More than anything else, she needed a professional. Some people may have scorned that lady, in particular, but I went and did what I was supposed to do. That baby had to be admitted to hospital and, as such, I took her myself."
Vassell Murray added: "There are many cases like that, but I'm just telling you about the most recent. Over the years, there have been so many. One of the greatest things is that I've lived to see people I delivered become successful. I have delivered lawyers, doctors, nurses, thieves, and policemen - everybody."