Sandals South Coast team fetes Black River nurses
Director of nursing services at Black River Hospital Matron Maria Stampp (centre) is flanked by her colleagues deputy director of nursing services Ingrid Stephens (left) and Nurse Anaesthetist Andrea Wright after receiving goodies from Sandals South Coast. Also sharing in the moment is the resort general manager, O'Brian Heron.

Sandals South Coast recently feted the 11 longest-serving nurses at the Black River Hospital, as the Ministry of Health and Wellness officially celebrated July as Healthcare Workers Appreciation month.

Among those recognised was 37-year veteran and director of nursing services Matron Maria Stampp, who, in addition to her gift bag of goodies, also received a full day pass to Sandals South Coast, inclusive of a relaxing Red Lane® Spa experience and a private candlelight dinner for two.

"I chose to be a nurse as I believe that was my calling; I'm called to serve mankind and nursing provided me the best opportunity to do so," said Matron Stampp in describing the passion she has for her profession.

"Nurses work so hard, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, which I've seen push us to our limit," said Matron Stampp. "Many of our nurses stood up and stood tall and took care of those patients while navigating through their own private lives, taking care of their families, completing courses, etc."

In addition to presentations to the longest-serving nurses, Sandals South Coast also invited all 130 nurses at the hospital to participate in a raffle that saw lucky winners walking away with day and evening passes to the luxury-included resort.

Chief executive officer for the hospital, Diana Brown-Miller, who was on hand to share in the festivities, summarised the sentiments of her administration as well as the Sandals South Coast team.

"Like water to the body, like salt to our food, so are our nurses to the health-care system," Brown-Miller said. "Our nurses are the backbone and the mainstay of the health-care system. While the doctors will diagnose, it is nurses who interpret, educate and train our patients, based on the plan of the doctors. Our nurses are patient-centric advocates, every day they advocate for our patients."

She said amid the peak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, even as the cases rose, so did the hospital's nurses rise to the occasion. She noted that as Jamaica celebrates its nurses, her administration was grateful to the team from Sandals South Coast, who tangibly said thank you to the nurses of the Black River Hospital. "This means a lot to me, it shows that people care, that your work has not gone unnoticed and so thanks to Sandals South Coast for thinking about our nurses, for celebrating our nurses."

This initiative was another way in which Sandals South Coast followed in the footsteps of its corporate office in recognising the value of the island's health-care personnel. The Sandals Group had, during the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, gave cash, digital hand-held thermal scanners to the Ministry of Health and Wellness and assisted with the transportation needs for healthcare workers in western Jamaica. They went even further to offer one of their Montego Bay-based resorts, Sandals Carlyle, to the Jamaican Government for use as a quarantine/isolation centre and later in recognition of their humanitarian efforts, the company gifted complimentary two-night stays at its all-inclusive resorts to 300 health care workers in Jamaica and six other islands.

"While there has been great focus on the unwavering heroism of our nurses during the pandemic, we really should celebrate our nurses every day for the simple fact that health care is such a basic necessity for every human being and as such the service they offer holds value way beyond the pandemic," said Sandals South Coast General Manager O'Brian Heron. He said the resort will continue to support the work of the Black River Hospital and its team.

Nursing Supervisor Desorie Brown-Nish, who has served in the nursing profession for 23 years, is presented with a special token by Sandals South Coast Public Relations Manager Rochelle Forbes-Reid.
Sandals South Coast Environmental Health and Safety Manager Vilma Smith presents a token to 20-year veteran nurse Sonia Hamilton (lefft) at the Black River Hospital in St Elizabeth last month.

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