By RON FANFAIR
Losing her mother, who was a nurses’ aide, to breast cancer was more than enough reason for Tanya Meikle to pursue a nursing career. She is now enrolled in the Seneca College/York University undergraduate nursing program.
The 26-year-old second-year student was presented with a bursary at the University Hospital of the West Indies Graduate Nurses Association’s (UHWIGNA) 25th annual gala recently.
“I feel quite honoured to be receiving this award, but it’s because of my mother that I am standing here accepting it,” said Meikle. “When she died at age 35, I made the decision that I was going to follow in her footsteps and embrace the profession she loved.”
The Kingsway College graduate plans to pursue her Masters after securing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
In the keynote address, YWCA Canada chief executive officer Paulette Senior reminded the nurses that they are an important part of the health care system.
“Truth be told, most of us in society could not walk in your shoes let alone wear your distinguished uniforms that you worked incessantly hard to attain,” said Senior. “In fact, those outside the realms of your profession often wonder how you do what you do and that is taking care of us at the most vulnerable, difficult and trying times in our lives where even our own loved ones would possibly fall short…We owe you a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid but only appreciated.”
In the past 25 years, the UHWIGNA has donated nearly $250,000 in financial and other resources. Some of the funds have been used to install medical equipment in the hospital’s Tropical Metabolism Research Unit and computers and a fax machine for the School of Nursing.
“Because you persevered, because you heard the call and because you acted, you are here celebrating a quarter century milestone of achievements that I’m sure have benefitted and continue to support more individuals, more families and more communities than you know or ever imagined,” said Senior.
“Your objectives are clear, your aims are high and rightly so. For in order to contribute resources, increase knowledge, recognize excellence, support, motivate, grow and give, give, give, the going must have gotten tough a few times along the way. The true measure of any success is not found in how long a thing lasts or a person lives. Rather, it’s found in the legacy that is passed on to the next generation as a result of the existence of a thing, a person or organization.
“Nursing is one of the most honourable professions in the world. The desire and choice one makes to care for the sick, the elderly, our newborns, the injured and those unable to help themselves is no small thing. But to further voluntarily support those who are on similar paths to care for others is to hold the vision beyond one personal choice, to see beyond the immediate and to ensure the legacy of the generosity of spirit lives on for generations to come.”
Consul General George Ramocan praised the organization for the significant contribution it has made to the development of Jamaica.
“Your contributions of financial and material resources are highly appreciated,” he said.
Since 2002, the organization has also honoured a health care worker with a professional achievement award. This year’s winner was Jamaican-born primary health care nursing practitioner Auvriel O’Connor.