Omega Chi celebrates National Nurses Week

Omega Chi Chapter honorees Pearline Okumakpeyi and Carol Walkin (center) with sorority president Jacqueline Gulstone (far left) and vice president Karen McNeil (far right).
Photos by Donna Lamb

On May 11, the Omega Chi Chapter of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, a national sorority of registered nurses and nursing students, held its National Nurses Week celebration at Brooklyn’s highly respected Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (DSSM).

The gala, which was emceed by Patricia Baptiste, began with welcoming remarks by Karen McNeil, followed by an invocation by Dr. Audrey Sealey-Dupree.

In her greetings on behalf of DSSM, Executive Director Peola Small emphasized the fact that nurses play a pivotal role in the center’s effort to provide quality care to its residents because the nurses are closest to them on a daily basis.

State Senator Eric Adams was also on hand to congratulate Omega Chi members on their unswerving dedication to their motto “Service for Humanity.”

The evening’s featured speaker was Grenadian-born DSSM Assistant Medical Director Dr. Lucia Nixon. With great charm, warmth, and humor, she told of how two nurses really saved her bacon on her first night shift, when she was an inexperienced intern, trying to appear confident but petitioning the Gods for an uneventful night.

Realizing Dr. Nixon’s incompetence, two nurses on duty who were supremely experienced and confident took charge of the situation, retrieving the medication and directing her on what to do.

“Actually, the nurse administered the medication while I merely held the patient’s hand,” Dr. Nixon declared. “After the patient was stabilized, they even handed her the doctor’s order and instructed her what to write.

The Member of Year Award went to Pearline Okumakpeyi, Omega Chi’s immediate past president and one of its most senior members, who, despite her many family commitments and graduate school studies, always finds time to commit to the sorority.

Carol Walkin received the Unsung Hero Award. An active member of the chapter for over five years, she is always one of the first members to be called upon to assist when needed, and she does so without hesitation or fanfare.

Other highlights of the evening were two beautiful gospel solos by Bernadette St. Clair and a special dedication to the nurses by vocalist Angela Cooper who stirred and inspired everyone with her gorgeous rendition of “Go Light Your World” with its chorus of “Carry your candle, run to the darkness” which everyone joined in on while holding up their candles.

Closing remarks were delivered by Phyllis Payne Dublin who told the nurses to go forth knowing that “the light we shine may not necessarily be a candle but our smiles, our touch, and our voices that can mean so much to those in our care, bringing them strength.”

The evening concluded with delicious refreshments, which were enjoyed by all along with the enlivening music provided by deejay Jerry Gabriel.

Dr. Lucia Nixon tells a heartfelt and humorous story about her internship during a National Nurses Week celebration.
Photos by Donna Lamb
Photos by Donna Lamb

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