Nursing executive looking to give back to homeland
February 27, 2015
Nursing executive looking to give back to homeland

When Patricia Hanniford left St Vincent and the Grenadines and migrated to the United States of America 26 years ago, her main goal was to achieve her dream of becoming a health professional.

Having completed this goal, the nursing executive is now looking for ways in which she can contribute {{more}}to her homeland.

“I run a managed care company for a company called Centre Life Health Care. We have five offices and I’m in charge of all the nurses,” she told SEARCHLIGHT recently.

Hanniford said she has been accepted to Sentinel University to pursue a doctoral degree and she would like to do her thesis on health care in St Vincent and the Grenadines. She said she has taken a special interest in health care here, particularly since her 88-year-old mother suffers from dementia and benefits from health care services.

The nursing executive, who is originally from Barrouallie, said she appreciates that the sector has improved significantly since she left the country. However, having specialized in community health, she is of the opinion that preventative care should be an important facet of what is offered to patients.

“There is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to primary health care, looking at health before it is…catastrophic; people more look at someone when they’re already in a hospital, but looking at your health care before it reaches to that point; in America, that’s what they invest in,” Hanniford said.

“Invest more into talking to people about their health, what they eat. Invest in talking, talk is cheap. Have more grassroots work.”

These strategies, the mother of three said, are extremely important, not just during Breast Cancer Week or Hypertension and Diabetes Weeks, but all year around.

The dog walkers and babysitters comment hurt

Hanniford also took the opportunity of the interview with SEARCHLIGHT to comment on comments made last year by former talk show host, now diplomat, Sehon Marshall, about the jobs Vincentians take up when they migrate to North America.

In his August 2014 statements, Marshall, who is now the deputy consul general at the SVG Consulate in New York, compared the quality of life of Vincentians under the New Democratic Party before 2001 with life after the Unity Labour Party came into power in 2001.

In his statement, which upset many persons, especially those in the diaspora, Marshall opined that persons who had reputable jobs here before 2001, migrated to the US to be dog walkers and babysitters.

The consul general has since apologized for his comments.

The nurse administrator said if she had the opportunity to go to nursing school when she left secondary school, she probably would still have been in SVG.

“At that time, we didn’t have a college and my parents couldn’t afford. People had to go to Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad. I started from the bottom and I worked my way up,” Hannigan, who said she was initially hurt by the comment, told SEARCHLIGHT.

“America is very big on animals and even if someone is doing that type of job, I don’t look at it as a menial or degrading type of position. I’ve seen Europeans come to America and that’s the first type of job that they get. Yes, people did housekeeping, people did babysitting, but they used it as a stepping stone. It’s not like people stay in that kind of job. No. Vincentians over there are very hardworking and very conscientious. A lot of people are in colleges and pursuing their dream.”

Before she left SVG in 1989, Hanniford was a schoolteacher for two years.

Hanniford also disclosed that she is considering the possibility of returning to her homeland to teach at the nursing school, once she completes her doctoral degree.

“One of the things I do hope, when I really start my doctorate, I’ll be able to make a connection with someone here whether at the School of Nursing or at the Ministry of Health and whether they can assist me,” she told SEARCHLIGHT.(BK)