Springer Memorial School student, Nya Bowen, providing Senior Health Sister at the Winston Scott Polyclinic, Rosenette Cooke, with a manicure in celebration of Public Health Nurses Appreciation Week July 3-9 and the launch of a partnership between the Ministries of Education and Health and Wellness. (GP)

A number of educators have expressed satisfaction at the level of ease and comfort students received from public health nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This commendation came on Monday as the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT) launched its partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to celebrate Public Health Nurses Appreciation Week, July 3 to 9, at the Springer Memorial School, Government Hill, St. Michael.

Principal of the school, Mitchell Maxwell, in addressing the gathering, said “thank you” to the frontline workers, describing them as “those persons who had been at the forefront relative to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that as a nation we continue to have the very good services relative to the vaccine programme and all that we need to do to keep ourselves, our students and by extension Barbados a safe space”.

She noted that the school was excited about the give-back initiative, and stressed her students were committed to partnering with the health care providers in relation to the nation’s health and wellness.

Vice-President of the Association of the Principals of Public Primary Schools, Ivan Clarke, praised the nurses for their swift attention to students at all polyclinics, before and during COVID-19, and noted too that his own students had been beneficiaries of this good care.

“You were always … there for our students…and the ease with which our students were able to access medical care was accommodated by you….  You would have cared for them from very early; you would have seen them blossom.  The Association says ‘thanks to you’.

“Thanks for keeping our students and members of our staff healthy.  Thank you for your dedication …; thank you for your commitment to Barbados,” he said, stressing he was touched by the way the public health nurses handled the island’s children throughout the years.

Adding that for some it took the pandemic to see the worth of the nursing fraternity, Mr. Clarke stated: “You worked quietly, unassumingly until you were thrust into the forefront during the pandemic…. Long hours, including weekends, dispensing care while still looking after your daily duties… testing…vaccinating…looking after the citizens of Barbados…. You deserve our praise because of your sacrifices.”

Meanwhile, President of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPSS), Stephen Jackman, echoing similar sentiments, said nurses have always been a significant part of the Barbadian landscape, but often undervalued for the service they provide.  

He noted that with the onset of COVID-19 in Barbados, nurses were transformed “from health professionals who cared for us daily to frontline soldiers attempting to keep a deadly pandemic at bay”.

Emphasising that BAPPSS was grateful for the effort the nurses put in, Mr. Jackman said that he too had seen their “yeoman effort” when his school became a vaccination centre.  “You then became agents of education, as you sought to tell people the benefits of the vaccine,” he stated.

Following the brief ceremony, the public health nurses were taken to the cosmetology lab at Springer Memorial School, where they were pampered and treated to manicures, pedicures and other services.

Such pampering is expected to continue from Wednesday, July 6, to Friday July 8, when cosmetology students from the Grantley Adams, Princess Margaret, Springer Memorial, St. Leonard’s Boys’, Graydon Sealy, and St. George secondary Schools provide manicure, pedicure and barbering services to nurses at The Glebe, Edgar Cochrane, Eunice Gibson, St. Philip, Branford Taitt, Maurice Byer, David Thompson, and Winston Scott Polyclinics.

The give-back effort by students is expected to benefit them in the long run as they undertake their Caribbean Vocational Qualifications.


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