Nursing excellence awarded

Sharon Buckley honoured

Registered nurse Sharon Buckley, who has worked at the Cayman Islands Hospital for more than 13 years, received the Eloise Reid Award for Nursing Excellence at an annual nursing conference last week. 

Nurse Buckley began her career as a practical nurse at the hospital in George Town before completing her degree in nursing and returning to Cayman and to the hospital where she now works on the surgical unit. 

“I’m very honoured to receive this award,” said Ms Buckley after the awards ceremony on Tuesday, 10 May, during the 6th annual National Nursing Conference in Camana Bay. 

“I feel tremendously blessed to know that so many persons have supported me in my career and to accept this award in recognition of the care that I give is just so amazing,” she said. 

Eloise Reid a mentor 

She added that the fact that the award is named after Eloise Reid, the former chief nursing officer and former CEO of the Health Services Authority, was also special to her because she considered Ms Reid a mentor. “When I was a junior nurse, she saw me in the hallways of the hospital and encouraged me in my work and to excel as a nurse,” Ms Buckley said. 

Ms Buckley said her favourite part of her job was seeing the trust patients place in nurses to care for them, especially at times when they are at their most vulnerable. “To develop a rapport with someone and be able to put them at ease when they are going through a difficult time is incredible,” she said. 

She also said she gets a deep sense of satisfaction when former patients or their family members smile at her and thank her when she sees them at the supermarket or on the street. “That is a blessing and a reward. That’s the greatest reward – to know that patients appreciate what you do for them,” she added. 

‘A mandate from God’ 

She considers her nursing career “a mission, a calling, a mandate from God to provide care”. 

This is the fourth year the award has been offered. Candidates are nominated by their peers, and this year there were 11 nominees, the most to date. 

Ms Reid, who worked in healthcare for 31 years, was a member of the panel that chose this year’s winner. 

“What struck us about Sharon when we interviewed her was her love of the profession and commitment to patients’ care… It was evident in her the desire she had to be the best she could be,” said Ms Reid. 

What also struck her and the panel was the ready and sincere smile Ms Buckley always seemed to have for patients. 

As a Caymanian nurse, Ms Buckley is also a role model to young Caymanians who are interested in entering nursing as a career, Ms Reid said.  

In September, a registered nurse course is scheduled to begin at the University College of the Cayman Islands, which Ms Reid hopes will attract more local people to train as nurses in Cayman.  

The four-day conference attracted several students who are considering or have already taken steps to begin a career in nursing. Nine students from local schools, as well as one from the faculty of nursing at the University of Windsor, Canada, attended the conference. 

Christine Goeschel, director of patient safety and quality initiatives at Johns Hopkins University Quality and Safety Research Group in the United States was the keynote speaker at the conference, which was sponsored and backed by several local organisations and companies, including the Health Services Authority, Cayman National Bank, Baptist Health South Florida, Rotary Central, FirstCaribbean, Cayman Airways, Dart, JohAli Medical, and Lime. 

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Sharon Buckley, left, who received the Eloise Reid Award for Nursing Excellence 2011, with the award’s namesake Eloise Reid during the annual nursing conference at Camana Bay.–
PHOTO: NORMA CONNOLLY
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