Vincy nurse head successful medical outreach to Guyana
A Vincentian nurse in the Bronx recently headed what has been described as a very successful medical outreach to Guyana.
Registered nurse Hopina Samuel, president of the Caribbean American Nurses Association (CANA) BMW Chapter (Bronx/Manhattan/Westchester Chapter), who hails from Belmont, bordering the Marriaqua Valley, told Caribbean Life, in an exclusive interview, that she was enthralled to render aid to another Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-member nation from Jul. 6-13.
“The need for quality healthcare is the same whether you are in Guyana, the Caribbean basin or the United States. Nurses need to be more assertive about the things that concern nursing and speak with one voice,” she said.
“Nurses need to be recognized as the backbone of healthcare and be rewarded as such,” she added.
“I feel we need to continue to work with the nurses in Guyana to address some of the issues identified and hope to get Guyanese nurses in the United States more involved with this project,” Samuel continued.
She said Guyana was chosen in keeping with the organization’s mission to improve the health of Caribbean nationals.
She said one Caribbean country is selected by a draw for the biannual humanitarian mission.
To date, CANA-BMW chapter has conducted workshops in Barbados, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and donated medical supplies to Antigua, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago.
On the Guyana trip, Samuel said members toured various heath care facilities, such as the Georgetown Public Hospital Corp. (GPHC), St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital (Private), the Palms Nursing Home, and the Georgetown School of Nursing.
She said they also held separate discussions with individual nurses, nursing leaders and the Minister of Health regarding health-related and nursing issues.
In addition, the mission head said the U.S.-based nurses conducted detailed needs assessments and held a one-day nursing symposium with over 100 participants.
“The participants expressed much gratitude for the professional atmosphere that the nursing symposium brought,” Samuel said.
“Many said it was the first of its kind,” she added, stating that topics included maternal-child health issues, customer service and patient satisfaction, electronic medical documentation, achieving quality outcomes in nursing and midwifery, and patient education.
During the visit, Samuel said the group distributed medical supplies, awarded certificates to nursing colleagues, presented a plaque to GPHC, and made monetary donations to the Georgetown School of Nursing and the Nursing and Student Association.
“Guyanese are very hospitable. They expressed much gratitude for our presence, support, motivation, inspiration, donations, and hope that the partnership continues,” Samuel said.
The delegation comprised of 30 participants from CANA-BMW, 22 of whom were registered nurses.
The others were family and supporters of CANA-BMW members from Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago who reside in the U.S.
Laparkan Shippers provided discounted shipping for the medical supplies.
During CANA-BMW’s mission to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2009, members visited and donated medical supplies to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown, the Vincentian capital; the Georgetown Medical Center; the Louis Punnett Home; and several community clinics throughout the Windward coast, Samuel said.
The group also conducted, among other things, a one-day nursing symposium at the School of Nursing, held a health fair on Carnival Day in Kingstown, and met separately with nursing leaders and the hospital administrator.
Samuel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Administration and a certificate in Community Health from St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, and a Master of Science degree in Health Education from Lehman College in the Bronx, the City University of New York.