March 31, 2006
Graduates urged to be trailblazers

A total of forty two students in the registered nurse and nursing assistant programmes held their heads high as the School of Nursing hosted their 20th Annual graduation and Prize-giving ceremony last Thursday, March 23, 2006 at the Nursing School at Largo Heights. The graduation ceremony was held under the theme, “Igniting the mind to develop trailblazers in nursing.” {{more}}

The day belonged to Sopfornia Joseph, class valedictorian. Joseph was adjudged the Most Outstanding Student in Attendance and received the Yvonne Francis Gibson Shield and the prize from the School of Nursing Student Association (SONSA) for Most Outstanding Registered Nursing Student. In her Valedictory speech, Joseph reminisced about the three years spent with her colleagues and the sacrifices she made. She had everyone laughing as she recalled countless nights of studying, thriving sometimes on only four hours of sleep. She made one thing clear, that she always found comfort in seeking the Lord: “I could not have made it without the support of my colleagues and the grace of God.”

“I only want to matter.” These were the words of feature speaker, Barrister-at-Law, Andrew Cummings, quoting from the Hollywood blockbuster film, “Walk the line.” He said if all the students in the nursing profession seek to matter in their profession and personal lives then they would make a great contribution to the community and make this world a better place. “How could you succeed if you don’t try, the do-nothing approach is not the mark of a true trailblazer,” said Cummings. He urged the students to follow in the footsteps left by senior nurses. Core values, he explained, must be the centre of their work.

Minister of Health and the Environment, Dr. Douglas Slater disclosed that there has been a shortage of nurses over the past ten years and his administration is seeking to alleviate that problem. He urged the students to be humble and exercise great patience and tolerance as they venture into the world of health care. Dr. Slater also stated that this is the opportune time for the graduates to take up the mantle as the senior nurses will soon be leaving the profession. An important point mentioned by Slater was that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the few countries in the Caribbean that pay their nurses while training.

As the lone male Registered Nursing graduate, Raphael John was named the Most Outstanding Performer in the Regional Examination for Nurse Registration General Nursing Council Award. Kemita Samuel received the award for being the most outstanding Nursing Assistant student. Other graduates were awarded with certificates and trophies.