Lillian Lewis McDonald is 2021 LASCO/NAJ Nurse of the Year
NAJ celebrates 75 years with return of awards
The Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ) and the LASCO Chin Foundation honoured the hard-working members with an awards ceremony on July 23.
The function, held at The Jamaica Pegasus, marked the end of this year’s observation of Nurses’ Week. It also saw the resumption of regular activities after the disruption in 2020 due to COVID-19, which led to the cancellation of the LASCO/NAJ Nurse and Student Nurse of the Year competitions.
The nurses held a COVID-conscious ceremony, which ended with the announcement of Lillian Lewis McDonald, infection prevention and control nurse at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, as the 2021-22 LASCO/NAJ Nurse of the Year.
It was an unexpected win for the nurse manager, as she said all the finalists were deserving.
The finalists were Dion Murphy Nedrick, nursing director at the University Hospital of the West Indies; Rachel Lee Francis, infection prevention and control nurse for the Intensive Care Unit at the Kingston Public Hospital; Machel Edwards Lewis, registered nurse at the Mandeville Regional Hospital; Davia Tucker, acting nurse manager at the Bustamante Hospital for Children; and Claudine Douglas Cole, nurse manager at Linstead Public Hospital.
“I am grateful and thankful to God [for the recognition],” said McDonald, after picking up the $200,000 cash prize from LASCO and the trophy for being the top nurse for the upcoming year.
She shared her victory with second-place winner Douglas Cole and third-placed Murphy Nedrick, who received cash prizes of $150,000 and $100,000, respectively.
Corporate Programmes Manager Renee Rose said LASCO was elated to once again honour the nurses.
“Last year, we saw first-hand the selfless and tireless service that our nurses give to Jamaica. Although LASCO was happy to assist behind the scenes, our chairman, Lascelles Chin, takes great pride in recognising our civil servants publicly,” Rose explained. “The nurses, police officers, teachers and principals do so much for us that became so very evident during the unusual year we had.”
Alicia Vickers was announced as the LASCO/NAJ Student Nurse of the Year as she celebrated her birthday.
“I feel absolutely fantastic. Although I declared to fellow finalist and friend Rochelle McKoy that I would do something great at the school, no one would have thought that this would be it,” she said excitedly at the ceremony.
Vickers and McKoy, along with batchmate D’Jouney Brown Jones attend Brown’s Town Community College School of Nursing, with the top four completed by Sashana Simmonds from the University of Technology, Jamaica Caribbean School of Nursing.
Vickers walked away with the $100,000 prize money for first place; Simmonds placed second, and McKoy placed third.
“I want to tell nurses and student nurses to keep compassion in our hearts for our fellow man and express that each day as we go to work,” Vickers said, surrounded by her raft of trophies and prizes for nabbing the top spot. “Jamaica has seen that we can give quality service, so we are thankful for the support that LASCO has given to student nurses and the NAJ.”
All the finalists for the Nurse of the Year and Student Nurse of the Year received gift baskets, courtesy of LASCO.
The 2021 Nurses’ Week celebration included the observance of the NAJ’s 75th anniversary, with a thanksgiving service on July 18; a Founder’s Day ceremony that saw 75 COVID champions awarded; career development workshops on July 21; and a disco lyme on July 2, all under the theme ‘Nurses: A Voice To Lead – A Vision For Future Healthcare’.