COMMITTED to championing the cause of nurses across the island, Shantel Ellington has taken on the role of advocate, encouraging young Jamaicans to follow in her footsteps and pursue a fulfilling career in nursing. Hailing from August Town in St Andrew, Ellington remains steadfast in her drive to leave a positive impact, one patient at a time.
Destined to strive in a career path centred around helping others, Ellington confesses that she is always quick to dispel any misconceptions surrounding the nursing profession. “Many people believe that nurses ‘only do their jobs’ while lacking compassion, but for me, my joy comes from tending to my patients. I look forward to seeing my patients progress, moving one step closer to returning to a healthier life. What people often forget is that nurses are people too. We do go through personal challenges and that can affect our mood, but we still try to remain professional and give our best when caring for others. I don’t think I could be in any career that didn’t allow me to help someone.”
Ellington believes that with increased support, more young people would view the profession as a career of choice. She’s calling on corporate entities to help make this a reality. “If people only hear negative stories, then they will shy away from nursing. But if they see an outpouring of support for the occupation, then they will be more open to filling the role,” said Ellington.
Commenting on Malta’s recent sponsorship of the Carifta Games at which she worked, Ellington said while the athletes were the focus, the brand stepped up and ensured that all the supporting teams were considered. “They provided us with a nurses station, keeping us replenished throughout the day. As caregivers, we felt happy that we were not overlooked. That’s the kind of corporate input that makes a difference,” she contends.
The multifaceted caregiver hopes to inspire others by demonstrating that a person’s background does not determine their future. Growing up in an extended family, Ellington said she was exposed to a variety of skill sets and took pleasure in doing things that were hands-on, including art, plumbing and electrical work. In the end, it was nursing that was her calling. “I didn’t choose nursing, nursing chose me. I fall in love with this career each and every single day,” she declared.
Ellington is encouraging everyone who wants to go into the profession to prioritise passion and integrity. “I believe in integrity and displaying professionalism whether you’re being supervised or not. This alone will be the difference between being a good nurse and an exceptional one. I also encourage anyone to ensure that they are entering the field to give of themselves and their hearts. You are aiding in taking care of someone’s mental and physical health and that is an important role to play. Don’t just think about the money, think about the impact you will make, and you can never go wrong.”