Verginia Stewart, as a young adult in Jamaica, was already a registered nurse when she immigrated to the United States.
Initially inspired by the school nurse in St. Ann Parish, a young Verginia Stewart wanted to help people, enter a life of service and have flexibility to use her skills anywhere she traveled. Nursing suited her.
Now, she has 40 years of service in healthcare behind her, the last 28 at Metropolitan Hospital. She was head nurse in a medical surgical unit before her current position as staff nurse in ambulatory service.
Early in her tenure at the hospital, fellow nurse Margaret Hobson took her to a meeting of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA). Not only did this nurse show professionalism and traits Ms. Stewart wanted to emulate but, she says, “This started me on my journey to inspiring other nurses to band together for the good of the profession.”
Over the many years, Ms. Stewart has served in various capacities for NYSNA.
“I’ve devoted a lot of time,” she says. “We cannot allow the profession to be stagnant. We need to work for the necessary changes for advancements of the profession and patient care.”
For the last five years, Ms. Stewart has been a member of the NYSNA board — one of its 21 statewide members. Before that, she was vice chair of the local bargaining unit of her hospital and on the executive council of the local bargaining units of the City of New York and NYC Health and Hospitals.
“I’ve seen more young nurses join the profession,” she observes, greatly heartened. “Also, nurses are more aware of their needs from the institutions where they work for optimal patient care.”