Ambassador to CARICOM Robert “Bobby” Morris believes that nurses must do more to document their history, ensure the information is used in schools, and attract more young people to the profession.
Delivering the 2014 Eunice Gibson Memorial Lecture, Morris noted that in his life at school he knew only of the exploits of foreign caregivers and nothing about those closer to home, who had helped give birth and had ensured the good health of the population.
“The fact that I learnt about Florence Nightingale when I was a boy, and she became an idol for me; but I have only learned about our nursing heroes as a man, that is significant!” he said in the lecture auditorium of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital last night.
At the function, Bernard Beckles was named the Eunice Gibson Awardee for 2014-2015, succeeding Marlo St Hill. The award is handed out to an outstanding nurse under 40 years old for exemplary work and dedication to the profession.
While noting that the Barbados Registered Nurses Association was in the midst of documenting aspects of nurses who had served, he urged that there be produced a comprehensive history of nursing in Barbados.
“We have the skills to do the research and put together this compendium that would be used in schools, so that primary schoolchildren –– whoever else, people
who are studying nursing –– should be able to learn about these persons.”
Morris conceded that he had learned much about nursing in Barbados and the work of the founder of the Registered Nurses Association during recent research in preparation for the lecture. Based on those reasons he described founder Nurse Eunice Gibson as “a paragon of the nursing profession and a phenomenal woman”.
He spoke of an absence in the association’s constitution of any mention of the organization projecting the image of members.
“I believe that you have to set out purposely to project your identity, your image, and your brand. That’s a fundamental issue today in terms of institutions.
“Lest you be forgotten, and lest you find yourself with a membership that is my age, it is very important that you continue the growth of your membership to include the young people,” Morris advised.