THE work of nurses in the Bahamas was recognised at the inaugural Nurses Association of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Zenith Awards in front of hundreds at Government House with an address by the Prime Minister, whose mother was one of the founder members of the organisation.
Eloise Rolle, chair of the Nurses Association of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas (NACB), said the Zenith Award is the highest award for nurses that “illustrate their contribution to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. This is our way of illustrating the significance of nurses and the gratitude which they should be paid and more.”
The patron of the awards ceremony was former Deputy/Acting Prime Minister Cynthia “Mother” Pratt, a former nurse of 17 years service, and 100 nurses were honoured.
The Zenith Award was created by the NACB to commemorate the service of excellence produced by nurses throughout the Bahamas. At the ceremony on Saturday night Kateca Graham, President of the NACB, paid tribute to the role nurses play, the untiring effort that they give and the sacrifice for the greater good.
Mother Pratt, one of the recipients of the award, drew on personal experience and the courage required to help her Bahamian brothers and sisters with a heart of compassion and duty. “There were many rough times in being a nurse,” she said, “but being a nurse is not about what we feel but what ought to be accomplished by doing our duty in assisting the wellbeing of who we are serving to be better. It is always about the person and not about us. This is our mandate. In this profession we cannot accept fear. Fear is nothing more than a stepping stone in succeeding to what we have to accomplish.”
Prime Minister Perry Christie reflected on his mother, Naomi, who was one of the founding members of the NACB.
“I understand much about the profession of nurses because my mother was a nurse,” he said.
“I saw how she worked and nurtured people as a nurse who would go into the community as a midwife assisting with the delivery of many Bahamian babies. Her compassion and discipline is what was always at the forefront. And it is what I saw and what built me growing up.”
Mr Christie said many people approach him to tell him about the impact his mother had had on their lives, saying “your mother delivered me into this world or she was my nurse. She took good care of me.”
He thanked the nurses for their many contributions and said he was honoured to participate in an event to celebrate nurses. “And I see the improvements which are needed,” he said. “It is what we are currently trying to accomplish throughout the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, especially in the Family Islands to improve our health care system. In 2016, much will be done in healthcare.”
Mr Christie, Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling and Mrs Rolle presented the awards to Mother Pratt and the many nurses honoured. Mrs Rolle spoke about the next awards ceremony in two years and of the contribution of late Sir Etienne Dupuch and Mr Sawyer, who were strong advocates in assisting the NACB to get started.