With up to three decades of service given to the nursing profession and the people of Jamaica, it is little wonder that Sandals South Coast hand-picked 11 longest-serving nurses at the Black River Hospital for special recognition during Nurses Week (July 17-22). This, as the Ministry of Health and Wellness officially declared that July is designated as Healthcare Workers Appreciation month.
All 11 nurses were on the receiving end of lovely gift bags compliments of the award-winning resort. Among those recognised was a 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.
She also used the opportunity to thank her colleagues as well as Sandals South Coast for their kind gesture. “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 the 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 (CEO) for the Black River Hospital, Diana Brown-Miller, who was on hand to share in the festivities, perfectly summarized 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 healthcare system,” Miller noted. “Our nurses are the backbone, the mainstay of the healthcare system. While the doctors will diagnose, it is nurses who interpret, educate and train our patients based on the plan of the doctor. Our nurses are patient-centric advocates, every day they advocate for our patients.”
Miller further reflected that amid an unprecedented 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 we want to thank Sandals South Coast for thinking about our nurses, for celebrating our nurses.”
This initiative is yet another way in which Sandals South Coast is following in the footsteps of its corporate office in recognising the value of the island’s healthcare personnel. The Sandals Group has, during the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, continuously supported the healthcare response by donating funds, digital handheld thermal scanners to the Ministry of Health and Wellness and offsetting 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 center 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 healthcare 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 further noted that his resort would continue to support the work of the Black River Hospital and its team however possible.