Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
IT CAME as no surprise to many persons when Victoria Melhado, even with just six years under her belt practising as a registered nurse, copped the coveted award as the Lasco Nurse of the Year 2012-2013.
This was due to the dedication, commitment, hard work and passion she has shown in carrying out her duties throughout her career.
Melhado is a midwife at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston where she was born, and named after the former Queen of England, Queen Victoria, the same as the hospital.
She, however grew up as a 'country girl' in the rural district of James Hill, Clarendon where she attended Edwin Allen High School.
Melhado lived with her grandmother Inez Anderson who instilled certain caring, loving and kind values, which have helped her in her work as a nurse.
"Shortly after I left high school, my first love was journalism and law," Melhado said. "I intended to go to the University (of the West Indies) but my parents couldn't afford it."
She added: "That time the Government used to offer scholarship for persons to do a career in nursing, so my father (Everton Melhado) sort it out and I did that."
She enrolled at the Kingston School of Nursing in 2003 and graduated in 2006 as a registered nurse. In January 2007, she started working at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.
After a year, she was sent to do the midwifery course. Describing her work as a midwife she said, "It is very exciting, it is truly a blessing. You feel so gifted to know that there are two lives in your hands. And at times, especially when the baby comes out and you have to resuscitate that newborn, you feel that God has given you the gift of instituting life. Just to hear that first cry of the newborn, it is really a privilege and a blessing."
Melhado said being a nurse in general has been fulfilling. "It has been a very rewarding experience not financially, but it's satisfying, especially when you know you have gone and done your best, done a good day's work," the nurse said.
She said more needs to be done for nurses. "It is so frustrating, the Jamaican nurse I believe is a great innovator. Sometimes people don't recognise the sacrifice the nurses make. We have to work 24 hours when other persons enjoy their beds, we have to be at work even during hurricane, violence ... ."
She added: "The Government doesn't seem to care at times. Persons just believe we are just after money, but we are just advocating for better working conditions, safer hospital environments that will both benefit patients and those working."
Melhado disclosed that winning the Nurse of The Year award was one of her dreams. "Ever since I became a nurse and I started working at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, I have always wanted to be awarded the nurse of the year," she explained.
"I always just want to leave that mark of excellence, anything I did anywhere I went, I just said that I wanted to be the nurse of the year. I also felt good that my grandmother was able to see me accomplish this honour."
For the year 2013, she will be very busy for the rest of the tenure with several overseas dates. "It has been really exciting so far and I am looking forward to more exciting things to come. I am really honoured to serve," she said with a broad smile.