Tuesday, May 12, is being celebrated as International Nurses Day and to highlight the work of nurses, many of whom are on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, we present a feature on a nurse serving in Western Jamaica. The feature is done by Serena Grant of JIS. –Editor
BY: SERENA GRANT (JIS)
As a youngster, the signature crisp white uniform worn by registered nurses enthralled Stacy-Ann Scott. However, passion and appreciation for the profession got much deeper than aesthetics as she got older.
“I have always had a liking for the profession of nursing. Initially, it was just because of the uniform, how these nurses looked. However, I see myself as a very caring person and I saw where I could contribute a lot to this profession. I love caring for persons and I love caring for my patients,” Nurse Scott tells JIS News.
While her goal was momentarily derailed, nothing could stop Nurse Scott, who is now in Accident and Emergency (A&E), Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital in Westmoreland, from living her dream.
“Due to circumstances, I was unable to go immediately to study nursing as soon as I left high school, so I worked as a community health aide at the Bethel Town Health Centre for four years,” she says.
She notes that at the tail end of that stint, she commenced her nursing studies at the University of Technology (UTech) in 2008, and graduated in 2012.
Nurse Scott started working at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital in 2015, and in the year that followed, she went back to UTech and graduated in 2017 as a Critical Care Nurse.
The 42-year-old tells JIS News that the best part of her job is caring for her patients beyond physical care.
“Sometimes persons are in pain and you do something to help. Sometimes it’s not a pharmacological intervention; it can be sitting with them – you talk with them, and show them care and love. When they explain what they are going through and you encourage them and when they say thank you, you feel really good that someone appreciates what you have done for them,” she says.
Being a nurse on the front lines is not an easy feat, but Nurse Scott notes that “nothing at all I have seen or heard, so far, has left me having any regrets about being a nurse”.
While she has never regretted being a nurse, she admits to witnessing tough scenarios that have moved her to tears.
“I have seen things which have caused me to question myself if I was going to be able to handle this,” she says.
“When you see children coming in or victims of gunshot wounds… regardless of how strong you are or how much you try to keep yourself together, you just have to move away sometimes and shed a tear. You have to go and cry, pull yourself back together and then you do what it is you have to do,” Nurse Scott tells JIS News.
She highlights that her days off are reserved for her children, with whom she enjoys cooking, backyard gardening and outings.
As it relates to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Nurse Scott says, “what is important and what I try not to do is to panic. I get informed on what it is all about, how to protect myself and my family, and how I pass on information to my patients on how to protect themselves”.
She notes that the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital has several COVID-19 prevention reminders posted around the facility, as well as an isolation facility and adequate protective gears for staff.
Nurse Scott says she is confident that the hospital is adequately prepared to deal with the virus.
“We do training at work, which teaches persons how to wear their personal protective equipment (PPE), how they take them off and so on,” she said..
Nurse Scott is advising student nurses, as well as other persons considering the profession, that while it is, indeed, a noble one, there will be challenges.
“There is another side to nursing. You are going to deal with persons who will disrespect you, and you are going to have persons die under your care,” she says.
When asked what she wants her legacy as a nurse to be, Nurse Scott says: “I would love for persons to feel that I made a difference by being a nurse who genuinely cared about my patients; a nurse who saw to it that every patient that came under her care, irrespective of what the outcome was, got the optimal care that that patient deserved”.
“I would also like it to be said that in terms of my junior nurses, I tried my best to equip them to be well-rounded and caring nurses,” she adds.