It is always a joy when you see your peers doing great things, which for me serves as motivation to keep aiming for the top. This month’s feature is someone who I went to High school with and it brings me great joy to feature her as October’s Nurse of the month. I’m very proud of her accomplishments thus far. Read her story below.
What made you choose nursing as a career?
Approaching the end of my secondary school education, I was very unsure of what career path I wanted for myself. What I was sure about, was that my personality was too big to be caged behind of a desk for 8 hours a day. I was sure that whatever I chose to do, I wanted to be able to make a lasting impression on the lives of persons that I come in contact with. I surprised many, including my parents when I chose to become a nurse.
Where did you start your career? What specialty and where are you working now?
Upon completion of my secondary school education, I enrolled in The Antigua State College, School of Nursing Department. It is a 3 year program, followed by a 6 months internship (preceptorship) period.
I presently hold a Diploma in Nursing and a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (RN to BSn. I am CPR, BLS (Basic Life Support) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certified.
I am not yet specialized, but I have 6 years of experience in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) where I am currently stationed.
What was your biggest obstacle in nursing/Nursing School?
Staying motivated in an environment that can sometimes feel very stagnating and discouraging to date, has proven to be my biggest challenge.
Our health care system in Antigua is far from world class, and even further from substantial. Although I cannot neglect to mention that there is significant room for improvement. None the less, I get up every day (most days, LOL) ready to do my part to effect positive change. It is disheartening when the sacrifices you make never seem to be appreciated or noticed. The general public in Antigua comes down hard on nurses and the entire health care system. You often ask yourself if they ever stop to think about the fact that nurses are human beings, doing their best with the limited resources that the government forces them work with. It is difficult to remain encouraged or motivated feeling that your best efforts always seem to prove futile.
What suggestions would you give to a new nurse, or an aspiring nurse?
Any carrier that is service oriented always presents its challenges, so prepare to fight. There is nothing easy about sacrificing your own health, family, time and life to improve the lives of others. So you have to be whole heartedly invested. I have shed many tears in my pursuit of becoming a nurse, and a good nurse. Although I am far from perfect, I still fight. You will have good days and bad days. Tell yourself that many have gone before you, and that you are no less worthy than they are. Remind yourself that as a nurse, you are the heart and soul of the health care system. Once you understand how important your role is, the sky is your limit.
Be compassionate and caring. Visualize yourself as the patient. Think of how you would want to be treated, and treat your patients the same. Advocate for your patients. Work well with your colleagues. Be the type of nurse you would want to work with.
One of Antigua’s best nursing educators makes it a point to teach all new nursing students the following “Professionals act as they must, and not as they feel.” Let those words sit with you throughout your journey. Reflect on them daily.
What shifts do you work? What shifts are available?
Shifts that are available include 7am-3pm, 3pm-11pm and 11pm-7am. Unfortunately, no preference is given for shifts. You are scheduled weekly, and the shifts are rotated likewise
What is the licensing process in Antigua?
Upon successful completion of the RENR (Regional exam for nurse registration) exam, the local nursing counsel will then register the newly successful nurses and award them a license. By law, licenses are renewed biannually upon completion of a minimum 30 hours of continuing education.