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MOHW awards 127 nurses for long service

HeadlineMOHW awards 127 nurses for long service

Photo: (l-r) Hon. Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Mrs. Cynthia Guild, receiving Lifetime Achievement Award

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Fri. May 12, 2023

One hundred and twenty-seven nurses from across the country were honored on Thursday, May 11, at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City, for their extensive service in the health sector.

The Nursing Long Service Awards Ceremony was held as part of the activities carried out during Nurses Week, which is observed annually from May 8-12, and this year the theme, “Our Nurses, Our Future” was highlighted.

At the ceremony, which was hosted by the Ministry of Health, awards were presented to nurses who have dedicated, on average, between 20 and 30 years to providing medical care in the country, and a Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Mrs. Cynthia Guild, who has served as a nurse for over 45 years.

The sacrifices made by nurses were even more extensive during the pandemic, when nurses provided care to critically ill patients while risking their own health as frontline workers.

Those heightened risks were highlighted in a study in the UK and the US, which showed that the rate of COVID-19 infection among frontline workers was over 12 times the rate among the general public, with 19% of the 315,531 confirmed cases between February 12, 2020, and April 9, 2020, being found among healthcare workers.

This high infection rate was in addition to the already severe psychological stress and even burnout being experienced by some nurses due to the demanding hours of work and fear of infecting loved ones.

And like nurses all over the world, all nurses in Belize, even some retired ones, found themselves answering the call to bolster the healthcare teams that were needed to provide care to those infected with the COVID-19 virus. Sadly, it was reported that at least one such retired but dedicated nurse from Belize River Valley, Mrs. Bernadette Smith Flowers, affectionately known as “Miss Nurse”, succumbed to the aggressive virus near the end of 2021.

Minister of Health, Hon. Kevin Bernard, commended the dedication of these nurses when he spoke to local reporters about the ceremony.

“For us at the Ministry, we felt that it was important to recognize our nurses across the country for their selfless effort. A lot of people do not understand the sleepless nights that these persons in this health profession, especially our nurses, have had to endure over the years. They do this because of the passion, they do this because they love their job, they do this because they want to serve the Belizean people,” he said.

“But I want to express our deepest appreciation on behalf of myself as the Minister, but that the wider community appreciates what our nurses do for them, especially when we went through the pandemic. They were there every single day fighting that COVID alongside and making sure our people were taken care of,” Bernard went on to say.

Notably, Nurses Week was celebrated with a host of activities in each region, including cookouts, church masses, and appreciation ceremonies.

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