Retired Senior Health Sister, Olreka Grosvenor (right) accepting a gift from Chief Nursing Officer, Mitchell Clarke during last Saturday’s retirement function at Divi Southwinds.??

The retirement of 10 of this country’s public health nurses has been regarded as a loss for the health sector.

This was indicated last Saturday night as Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand addressed a retirement function in their honour, at Divi South Winds Hotel.

Acknowledging that the nurses would "have played an integral role in the evolution of our public health services over the years", Dr. Ferdinand noted that their departure "stimulated a sense of regret at the fact that we are losing a vast reservoir of expertise all within the telescopic period of one to two years".

She said: "This massive loss of institutional knowledge heightens the importance of an ongoing strategic outlook in the plan for the development of our health services. It is critical that we keep at the forefront the need for constant capacity building in which we seek to ensure that we pursue a policy of employee education, training and development to ensure the availability of individuals with the right mix of skills who are ready and able to assume the mantle of responsibility, as others retire or redirect themselves to other endeavours.?? Such an approach will ensure that we are able to maintain and even sharpen the effectiveness of service delivery to our customers."

The 10 nurses are Juliette Brown, Sandra Bynoe, Eileen Cadogan, Cynthia Clarke, Joan Flemings, Olreka Grosvenor, Mary Hinds, Marva Odle, Marvo Shorey, and Cynthia Thompson-Perch.??

The retirees were commended by the Senior Medical Officer of Health for having dedicated "the most productive period of their lives to the health sector" and she pointed out that collectively they had contributed over 300 years to the public.

Meanwhile, Chief Public Health Nurse, Joyce Holder, reminded those gathered that public health nursing was a broad-based discipline.

??"It equips the nurses with the knowledge, skills and experiences needed to give relevant care and attention to individuals and families throughout the life cycle: that is, from the prenatal stage of life to the grave," she said.

In congratulating the retirees, Dr. Ferdinand stressed: "Your wealth of knowledge and experience should not be allowed to lie dormant, but rather continue to share your tacit knowledge through community outreach, or making yourselves available as resource persons. Your knowledge and experience continues to be greatly valued even after retirement." jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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