KINGSTON, Jamaica — The LASCO Chin Foundation and the Nurses Association of Jamaica partnered on Friday to celebrate nurses who they say have demonstrated exceptional dedication, compassion, and innovation in their field at the 2023-2024 LASCO/NAJ Nurse and Student Nurse of the Year Awards Ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
According to a release on Friday, "as the pinnacle of recognition for outstanding nurses in Jamaica, the LASCO/NAJ Nurse and Student Nurse of the Year Awards continues to unite and inspire the nursing fraternity under one cause — celebrating their tireless service to all Jamaicans."
At the close of the ceremony, Nurse Shantal Remekie walked away with the prestigious Nurse of the Year trophy, a cash award of $200,000 and a host of other gift tokens. Residing in St Andrew, the Charge Nurse at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Medicine and Nephrology Programme, said she is deeply passionate about charitable work, especially in areas concerning community health and wellness. She said she is determined to elevate the status of nursing across the island.
Ward Nurse Manager at the Hope Institute Hospital, Inga Hunter Martin, took the first runner-up spot, while Roshelle Mendez, registered nurse at the Mandeville Regional Hospital claimed the second-runner up spot. Among numerous gift baskets and prizes, the runners-up received LASCO sectional trophies along with a cash award of $150,000 and $100,000 respectively.
During her remarks, CEO of the LASCO Chin Foundation Professor, Rosalea Hamilton, impressed upon the awardees to be mindful of and celebrate the lasting impact of their care on the sick and infirm; as well as their families and wider society.
“Each year, at the Nurse and Student Nurse of the Year Awards we reflect on the work and worth of our nurses; we exalt your resolve under pressure, your gentle hands and the passion of your advocacy. This morning let us also celebrate the characteristics — intelligence, trustworthiness, competence, friendliness and confidence — that reverberate with each patient and their families when they first encounter a nurse,” she stated.
“The future of nursing in Jamaica depends heavily upon the zest of the leaders and policy makers to drastically improve your working conditions, access to resources and fair compensation. But it does not rest on these alone, you must also play your part by staying true to your oath. Each of you must protect and fight for the impression you leave on those in your care”.
Under the 2023 theme: 'Our Nurses, Our Future', the coveted Student Nurse of the Year Award was bestowed upon Bobbie-Ann Collins of the Excelsior Community College School of Nursing. A staunch advocate for mental health awareness; the St Thomas native is driven by a personal mission to drastically reduce inequities faced by individuals living with mental health challenges.
Other Student Nurse of the Year finalists included: Donica Chambers, Knox Community College School of Nursing; Judith Thomas, Knox Community College School of Nursing; Shaniece Burris, Brown's Town Community College School of Nursing; Derron Jackson, Excelsior Community College School of Nursing; Nickala Stewart, UWI School of Nursing Mona; Nastasia Simms, Brown's Town Community College School of Nursing.
LASCO has collectively invested $6.2 million to support the nurses’ activities this year and in a touching tribute to LASCO’s founder and executive chairman, the late Lascelles Chin, past and present Nurses of the Year shared a special dedication to the beloved ‘Las’ as he was fondly remembered.