Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Nurse Paulette Simms bats for the elderly in Spring Village

Published:Saturday | January 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Spring Village, St Catherine:

Nurse Paulette Simms life is all about service. Whether it involves giving a listening ear or dipping into her pocket to buy resources to carry out her job in the Spring Village community of St Catherine where she is the resident nurse at the I Believe Wellness Centre, she doesnt mind.

"I didn't want to be a hospital nurse. I wanted to be a community nurse where you assist the person from reaching the hospital. I believe hospital is a last resort," she told Rural Xpress.

Nurse Simms journey into the nursing world started from her own pain. After her son was diagnosed with meningitis at two months old, left mentally challenged because of brain damage, and by four years old was unable to walk or speak, she decided she wanted to know more about the disease.

Her son (now deceased) was referred to 3D Projects, and Simms was very involved in his daily care and in helping other children there, so much so that she was hired by them.

"I went into practical nursing hoping I could learn some more," she said. However, that didn't give her all the answers she was seeking. Nurse Simms soon made up her mind that she wanted to be a registered nurse.

There was just one thing wrong with that goal she didn't even have one subject!

At age 34, the now 45-year-old nurse said she worked for six years as a domestic helper while attending Portmore Community College to get the subjects she needed.

Armed with six GCE subjects, at age 40, she enrolled at the University of Technology to pursue her dreams which was completed on November 1, 2014.

LONG, HARD ROAD

It was a long, hard road, but its one she is proud of. Working at the clinic, which is located at Spring Village Development Foundation, she said, doesn't come without its challenges.

"I do what I can for the patients but they need a doctor and a dentist. They just don't have the funds to see them," she said.

For Nurse Simms, her greatest desire right now is to see a doctor and a dentist volunteering their time for even one day of each week at the centre.

"I am appealing for help for the elderly as the need is great. Most of the elderly need to see the doctor, but they just dont have the money. If we get a doctor and a dentist for even a day each week, it would be good. We already have the facility in place," she said.

For the caring nurse who hails from Nightingale Grove and now lives in Island Farm in the parish, seeing healthy patients is the fuel that keeps her going.

- Cecelia Campbell-Livingston