The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and other stakeholders on Tuesday hailed nineteen nurses for their continued professionalism as a new initiative was launched to recognise their exemplary work.
Dubbed the “100 Awesome Nurses” programme, the project is the brainchild of Sabrina Kazim, President of the non-profit group, FACES (Fight Against Sickle Cell Stigma) and aims to recognise nurses who have shown commitment in providing efficient health care to patients, particularly those who suffer from Sickle Cell disease.
Speaking with Stabroek News, Kazim explained that because one aspect of the treatment of Sickle Cell requires the use of opioids such as morphine, ‘Sicklers’ are oftentimes stigmatised. Because of this, such persons are described as ‘drug seekers’ and have constantly been accused of faking their symptoms to obtain the drugs.
As a result, Kazim explained that some patients with the disease would have experienced instances where they have been abused by medical staff and even chased out of hospitals both private and public. Thus, the decision to develop a programme to reward medical staff, particularly the nurses who would have displayed professionalism and compassion while carrying out their duties.
In her address at Tuesday’s gathering, Kazim explained that over time, members of FACES would have sat and discussed their experiences with treatment for their condition at both private and public medical institutions. A popular topic would have been the service provided to them by medical staff, specifically nurses, it was this that eventually led the group to begin categorising nurses based on their treatment of patients like themselves.
“We know the names of all of you here; based on your behaviour and mannerisms we can analyse and ascertain your personality traits and how you treat us as patients. As a result of that, we made a list a very long time ago and we have grouped the good and bad nurses that we have encountered at the GPHC and other hospitals,” Kazim stated.
With such a list at hand, she explained that a decision was made to engage the Director of Nursing in Guyana, to develop a project aimed at giving recognition to those who offered exemplary service.
“Many of times, we hear a lot of negative things being said about nurses especially at the Georgetown Hospital but most of the time, the very wonderful things that happen here is not recognised and the very awesome nurses are not recognised. So we want to look at the positive and good nurses on the list, we believe that nurses who are committed and are passionate about care- giving, who are dedicated even beyond the call of duty are those persons who need to be recognised and commended,” Kazim added.
Lastly, she encouraged those recognised to extend their ‘awesomeness’ to those who are not yet there so that they too can someday be acclaimed for the work they do.
She said, “To those that have been chosen, we want you to continue to be awesome; we want you awesome nurses to go out there and affect and infect those nurses who are not there as yet and for you to serve as role models and mentors to those nurses.”
Meanwhile, in offering brief remarks, Chief Executive Officer of the GPHC, Allan Johnson alluded to comments previously made at a forum last month where he noted that in order for the GPHC to raise its standards, nurses would have to “step their game up.”
He said, “Is not that I do not recognise that Georgetown Hospital has awesome nurses, but what I said the last time was that there are some who are not stepping up and they need to step up.”
This time, he took the opportunity to encourage the men and women present at the event to strive for that level of awesomeness as they carry out their duties as medical professionals.
“If you are doing better now, I applaud you, but I say to you that you can do better than you are doing now and when we get that done, when we all move up…there are many things we can do and together we can make it happen,” Johnson said.
Also present at Tues-day’s event was Director of Nursing in Guyana, Collene Hicks who in brief remarks acknowledged the need for those in the nursing profession to understand the importance of delivering their services in a better manner.
She said, “Early in this year, we would have had our customer care specialist helping us again to understand how we need to deliver service in a better manner. Her recommendation also would have been helping us to understand that we need to recognise and reward the service of our health care workers. So we seize this opportunity to work together with our customers to … launch this initiative of recognising and rewarding the work of our nurses.”
“We do also invite other persons who are willing to come on board to help us lift the standard and the quality of care provided by this institution. It is also an initiative by this Ministry of Public Health to also recognise the work of nurses being done not only here at the GPHC but all across Guyana, so this is just the beginning of the bigger picture to recognise the work that we all do together to improve the health (care),” Hicks added.
Kazim further noted that while this is the first phase of the project, a collaborative effort would be made to recognise at least 100 nurses by November. The selection process would be based on feedback given by patients and other stakeholders over a period of time. Addition-ally, she stated that the programme caters for nurses in all arms of the hospital.