Caregivers take time to reflect on their mental and social wellbeing

Basseterre, St. Kitts (February 27, 2018) — As the three-month long 50th anniversary celebrations of the Joseph Nathaniel France General Hospital gather momentum, caregivers at the premier medical institution on Saturday February 24 took time off from their traditional rigorous routine to hold a health symposium.

The well organised symposium was held at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI), where a number of carefully selected professionals had been lined up to talk to the caregivers on topics of interest to their (caregivers’) mental and social wellbeing.

 “This afternoon, we are having our symposium and the symposium continues under the theme, ‘Moving forward 50 years of progress, endurance, and quality healthy service’,” said Matron Sonia Daly-Finley, Director of Institutional Nursing Services. “I am very pleased to see all of you here this afternoon, and I believe that I can safely say that so far we have been having a good time.”

According to the Matron, who is also the chairperson of the 50th Anniversary Committee, the topics had been designed to enrich their knowledge to enable them understand what is expected of them, not just as caregivers but in terms of issues that are related to their mental and social wellbeing as caregivers.

“The programme this afternoon, really has been put together especially for us. It is intended to be a learning exercise for all of us while at the same time light enough for us to relax – we learn and enjoy each other’s company,” Matron Daly-Finley noted.

The topics were: ‘Medical ethics in our organisation’, presented by Mr Vaughn Henderson, Crown Counsel; and ‘Retirement process for civil servants’, presented by Mrs Torfrida Rochester, Chief Personnel Officer.

Three staff members from the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board, Ms Avonel Woodley, Ms Tasha Hendrickson, and Mrs Barbra Liburd, made a presentation on the ‘Importance of Social Security and the benefits to civil servants’.

Mr Floyd Charles, Senior Manager, Sales and Marketing, National Caribbean Insurance made a presentation on the ‘Importance of insurance coverage benefits to civil servants’, while Mrs Kiera Khan, a Counsellor, spoke on the most anticipated subject, ‘Preserving your mental health’.

“We know that, I think that Dr Hazel Laws said that, one in every seven persons is mentally ill,” Matron Daly-Finley had told the participants. “So if you were to count at the tables you would know that there are many of us here who are or will soon be mentally ill. So we will hear more how to preserve our mental health this afternoon.”

Proceedings were chaired by Dr Dwain Archibald, ably assisted by Ms Mary Caines. To make proceedings of the afternoon light, two artistes were brought in between the topics. The first one was 10-year old Master Demani Martin, and the second one was the well-known Ms Kibbian Willett.

 For the record Matron Sonia Daly-Finley explained to them the reason the 50th anniversary was being held over a three-month period.

 “For the past ten weeks we have been celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the existence of the Joseph Nathaniel France General Hospital,” she explained. “The keys to the hospital were actually handed over to the government of St. Kitts and Nevis on the 14th of December in 1967. However, the hospital did not open its doors to patients until the 10th of March of 1968, hence the reason why we are celebrating from the 14th of December up to the 10th of March.”

Updating them on some of the events that had already been observed, Matron Daly-Finely nearly caused a friendly uproar when she said: “Even on the walk that we had, the health walk, Orange House … we came in almost first.”

 But upon being challenged from the floor she told them, “I said ‘almost first…’ but there were more Orange House members than any other house. Orange House has been doing well all the way.” Other houses were Green, Red and Blue.

“As chairperson of the 50th anniversary committee, I extended gratitude to all of you who are present here this afternoon for gracing us with your presence,” said Matron Daly-Finley. “We know that you are really off on a Saturday and you could do better things, but we are glad you took time out to come this afternoon.” 

She concluded by telling them: “I also want to take this opportunity on behalf of the executive management committee to thank all of you for your contributions to patient care. We have been doing a tremendous job and I think we need to give ourselves a round of applause. We thank you very much and may God continue to bless each and every one of us.”


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