Destined to serve - Love of job grounds Nurse of the Year
Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
Shashana Lawrence could not escape the nursing profession.
Walking away with the Lasco/Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) Nurse of the Year award on Saturday, Lawrence explained that at a very young age her grandfather declared that she would "blossom into a beautiful nurse".
Currently employed at Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), she noted that her seven years in the profession have not always been easy, but her determination and love for the job have kept her grounded.
"I have been challenged so many times, it has been an interesting journey. I remember my first day on the job. I was the only registered nurse caring for 35 patients, and I thought to myself that I could not manage, but the obstacles made me who I am today," Lawrence said. "God continues to bless me, with the right people who inspire me and my family and friends have been there for me every step of the way," she told journalists at the NAJ awards ceremony held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
She added: "You have to give of yourself, because there is no amount of money that can compensate for the work you do. There are people who will try to tarnish your reputation and get you down but as it is with anything in life, you have to push and work hard."
Going forward, Lawrence plans to embark on what she describes as a lifestyle modification programme for her colleagues, in addition to developing an effective communication tool for nurses and the wider society.
"We are often busy caring for our patients and sometimes we end up neglecting our needs. It (the programme) should include identification of facilities which consist of a gym and other recreational amenities which will allow us to take the load off and relax," Lawrence said.
During the ceremony, third-year student at the University of Technology, Ava-Gail Lindsay, copped the Student Nurse of the Year award.
Doing their best
Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson sought to assure the public that he will do his best to address unemployment among nurses.
"The matter of nurses who are unemployed is of concern to me and the ministry. I have made it very clear that we will not be importing any nurse that is not a specialist in the country while we have registered nurses here unemployed," the minister said.
"I have also been in discussion with your president as it relates to a particular country that approached us wanting to employ registered nurses. Discussions are ongoing at this time and at the appropriate time we will make the necessary announcements," he said.