Career & Education

Natalie wins!

Cornwall Regional Hospital staffer named Nurse of the Year 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017



Critical Care nurse at Cornwall Regional Hospital Natalie Hylton Levy recovered from her third-place finish last year to cop the 2017 Nurse of the Year award at the Jamaica Pegasus on Friday.

“I am extremely excited! A little bit overwhelmed, but very excited,” she told the Jamaica Observer after the formalities. “This has been something that I always wanted to do, so therefore I am honoured to be Nurse of the Year.”

The newly crowned nurse said she intends to target vulnerable girls as her main project for her year of reign, with the hope that her intervention will provide some empowerment to help them make wiser decisions.

“I think they have not been equipped with the sense of confidence to say no to a lot of things such as peer pressure, making the wrong choice of career, as they are sometimes just thrust into things, or even getting into an adult relationship. I want them to make decisions for themselves,” said Hylton Levy.

She noted that her proposed project would fulfil the Nurses Association of Jamaica's motto: “united in serve”.

For placing first, Hylton Levy received the LASCO/NAJ Nurse of the Year trophy and an increased cash prize of $350,000, amongst a host of other prizes.

Certified emergency nurse at Mandeville Regional Hospital Wayne Fearon, the only male in the competition, placed second and received an increased cash prize of $200,000 along with a trophy; while Mischelle Callaghan-Graham, a registered nurse at Spanish Town Hospital, was awarded the third-place trophy in addition to a $100,000 cheque.

Nurse Hylton shared the spotlight Friday with the newly crowned LASCO/NAJ Nursing Student of the Year for 2017-18 Joy Odusanya, a student of the University of the West Indies' School of Nursing. She received a trophy prize of $100,000.

Odusanya is the outgoing president of the Nursing Students' Association of Jamaica, Western Jamaica Campus (WJC). She has been listed on the honour roll of UWI Mona WJC and has received awards for the highest GPA for the first-year cohort of nursing students, and for professionalism by the nursing school. She is also the recipient of the Maica Impact Scholarship 2017.

Fellow student nurse Juline Souden of the University of Technology, Jamaica was adjudged first runner-up, while third place went to Jervine Richards of Knox Community College of Nursing.

For her year of reign, Odusanya wants to encourage nurses to stay in the country to curb the mass migration of those who are leaving as a result of low wages and poor working conditions.

“I want to a run a campaign to educate young and prospective nurses to remain in the country so that we can tackle some of the problems that exist. The human resource is the most important. As such, we have to continue to provide health care, because there is a need for nurses in Jamaica,” the young woman told Career & Education.

Odusanya was motivated to become a nurse after having first-hand experience with relatives who were ill. She subsequently enrolled in nursing school to help build upon that knowledge.

Executive deputy chairman of LASCO Affiliated Companies and managing director of LASCO Distributors, Peter Mark Chin commended the passion and drive of Jamaica's nurses as he addressed attendees at the award ceremony.

“Nurses, you face quite a few challenges: The pressure of limited resources; concern for your safety getting to and and while being at work; worrying whether members in your community or even your family will be victims of crime; yet still press on,” he said.

“We hear the stories of nurses travelling through volatile areas to get to work to provide the necessary care, compassion and to save lives. “Nurses, we commend your exemplary work, dedication, and professionalism — overcoming the daily challenges that you face,” Chin continued.

Lasco has been a partner with NAJ in hosting the National Nurse of the Year programme since 1999, making nurse Hylton Levy the 18th nurse to be awarded the title. The initiative celebrates the contributions of nurses and highlights outstanding individuals in the profession islandwide.

Friday's award banquet culminated National Nurses Week, which began on Sunday, July 16.

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