Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Nurses toasted on special day

Published:Wednesday | May 13, 2020 | 12:21 AMVanessa James/Gleaner Writer
Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ) President Carmen Johnson (left) fixes the crown of Student Nurse of the Year, Taquise Campbell, at the launch of National Nurses’ Week Activities at the NAJ’s St Andrew offices yesterday.
Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ) President Carmen Johnson (left) fixes the crown of Student Nurse of the Year, Taquise Campbell, at the launch of National Nurses’ Week Activities at the NAJ’s St Andrew offices yesterday.

NURSES ACROSS the world took a moment to exhale yesterday as they continue working to save lives amid the deadly global pandemic which this year heaped on more stress and challenges as they carry out their jobs.

Carmen L. Johnson, president of the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ), said that yesterday’s commemoration of International Nurses’ Day, celebrated under the theme ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead; Nursing the World to Health’, was important to give the hard-working nurses a boost.

“When we communicate with our nurses across the island, they get the feeling that the year has just dampened everything and nothing is really happening for them,” Johnson said yesterday at a ceremony to launch National Nurses’ Week.

“We wanted this (yesterday’s ceremony) to act as an emotional and mental-health booster so that they can understand that although COVID-19 has shut us down, we are not down and out, and despite that, they have to remain at their base, some working for 12 hours and more per day, that we still have them at heart,” she added.

Accolades and charges filled the ceremony, which was held at the NAJ’s St Andrew headquarters and streamed online to adhere to physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19.

The Reverend Dr Merlin Campbell Barriffe, guest speaker, congratulated the nurses on their achievements before comparing their work to that of Florence Nightingale, who is widely celebrated as the founder of modern nursing – a fitting example as yesterday also marked the 200th anniversary of her birth.

“You are a modern-day Florence Nightingale! We will never see her again, we can only read of her deeds, but we are seeing you, our nurses, and so we celebrate you. Well done. You are all heroes, nursing the world to health,” Barriffe said. “If it had escaped your notice, now that the world is facing this pandemic called COVID-19 … the whole world is forced to acknowledge the worth and work of nurses.”

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton echoes the sentiment, thanking the nurses for their efforts and said that now, more than ever, Jamaicans are realising how intricate the public health system is and appreciate medical staff.

The ceremony was sponsored by long-time partner Lasco.

“It is important that we show our support to our nurses because they are the backbone of our health sector and we rely on them heavily during this time,” said Renee Rose, corporate programmes manager of Lasco Distributors Limited.

vanessa.james@gleanerjm.com