Minister of Health, Donville Inniss,??accepting a copy of the text "The Unsung Nightengales" from author and former Nursing Tutor, Eleane Hunte, at his??office.??

A call has gone out for the outstanding work of nurses, who laid the foundation for others to follow, to be celebrated.??

This appeal came recently, as Minister of Health, Donville Inniss was presented with the text "The Unsung Nightengales" by author and former Nursing Tutor, Eleane Hunte, at his Jemmotts Lane Headquarters.

In commending Ms. Hunte for her "outstanding scholarly work", Minister Inniss noted that it was "long overdue" and urged that the book be used as a tool by all those entering the nursing vocation.??

He said: "I hope it would not only serve us in the Ministry in understanding the history of nursing and help us plan well for the future but also those in your profession to understand the trail blazers who went before and to inspire them to continue to uphold the high ideals set by those who have laid the foundation."

The Minister added: "We all recognise that the nursing profession is one that we cannot do without and I am certainly cognisant of the many challenges that they are facing now and have faced before, but once we put our heads together we can find meaningful solutions that would guide [this] development."

In outlining the contents of the book, Ms. Hunte said it comprised a lot of suggestions regarding problems which existed in the past. She explained: "It shows the shortage of nurses, and overcrowding and recalls the hospital was on the point of collapse during the 1960s and how the Government of the day dealt with this and the nursing shortage. It also speaks to some of the diseases like cholera and cerebral spinal meningitis, when all the schools, cinemas and places were closed."

She pointed out that it was ironic the book presentation was being held on the compound, which was then the General Hospital. Ms. Hunte stated, "It (the text) also contains forward thinking thoughts which I have about losing this whole environment and I hope the area would be called the Ena Walters Compound." [Ena Walters was the first Barbadian matron at the General Hospital].

Acknowledging that the Ministry would be leaving the compound soon, Mr. Inniss observed:?? "As you look around you would see that not much work has been done on it since it closed as a medical hospital. But we have also spoken to the Ministries of Investment and Housing with respect to the future use of the property.

"Unfortunately, it is not for the Ministry of Health to determine that, but we will surely use moral suasion to ensure that whatever goes on this compound, bears the name of those who would have worked so hard in the nursing and medical profession before."

While divulging that there were plans to have part of the compound at Jemmotts Lane used by the Faculty of Medical Science, the Health Minister opined, "But I do hope that the Nightengale [Nursing] Home (even if not used for nurses) will in the future bear the requisite note or plaque that serves to commemorate the memory of the nurses who have gone before and I hope at the appropriate time we find some national memorial activity [to highlight] more [of the] outstanding work of nurses in this society. I don’t think we have done enough of that."

He stressed: "I think that there are wards in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital that can be named after nurses; there are parts of our public health care system that should bear the names of nurses, not just a plaque on the wall."

Minister Inniss suggested that the conduct of those who operate within these environments should reflect the character of those who built the nursing profession in Barbados. He disclosed: "I can’t stress enough that it is my considered opinion that nursing in Barbados needs to be restored to being truly a profession and not just another ???job’. I think those who seek to enter the profession would do well to read your book and let it serve as a guide and reminder as to why they entered the profession."

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