By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
As a teenager, Cheryl Kenny was terrified to visit the doctor. The atmosphere at the clinic and the medical staff always appeared too serious, too tense for her liking.
That all changed one day when she had an encounter with a nurse who was kind, compassionate and attended to her with a smile. It was this experience which set on her on her eventual career path.
"I realised that I could help many people recover from their illness and alleviate their fears because I had the some qualities - compassion, a good listener, and a beautiful smile. Thus, I pursued the nursing profession," she told Tribune Health.
Nurse Kenny is a registered nurse and midwife who has dedicated nearly 40 years of service to helping people recover just as she was helped when she was a teen.
A special recognition and retirement celebration was recently held for Nurse Kenny, who reflected on the last 39 years in the profession and the impact she has made over the decades.
Nurse Kenny attended the Bahamas School of Nursing and the former College of the Bahamas, as well as Nursing Unlimited in Florida. In 1978, she entered the profession and, according to her colleagues and superiors over the years, served with excellence during her tenure. She was constantly upgrading herself. She started as a trained clinical nurse, became a registered nurse, a registered midwife, and then a nursing officer grade II. She is now retiring from an administrative position at the Flamingo Gardens Community Clinic.
To serve successfully and exceptionally over the years, she said, it is necessary to have what she describes as essential qualifications for nursing: patience, compassion, initiative, a love for helping people, honesty, and professionalism.
"I loved giving holistic nursing care to patients, also seeing the happy, appreciative, satisfied look on their faces during recovery; educating them about their condition in order to live a healthy life," she said.
A highlight of Nurse Kenny's career were those times she got to work within the communities.
"People approached me and thank me for nursing them back to good health or showed me their child who is doing well that I had delivered and say to the child, 'She was your midwife'. They informed me about how I educated them on how to care for their baby and self. Or they would say to me, 'You always look and display professionalism in your career'," she said.
Nurse Kenny has served on various wards at the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport, and the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre in Nassau.
She has worked in community clinics throughout New Providence and the Family Islands. She also lent her services to the Club Land'or hotel clinic, Doctors Hospital, the Church of God clinic, the Atlantis hotel clinic, the Nurses Home Care and the Lyford Cay Hospital Home Care. However, her true love was teaching the parent craft classes for antenatal clients in various clinics.
Nurse Kenny has these words of advice for aspiring nurses: "Strive for perfection when implementing (your) nursing duties and put God first in all that you do and He will direct (your) path."