Four student nurses training at the Barbados Community College (BCC) received scholarships for their outstanding academic performance and community involvement.
Second-year student Mark Yearwood and third-year students Lian Clarke and Shakera Layne received the Eunice Coppin Award while second-year student Aldaro Blackman was the recipient of the Lydia Bedford Award.
To qualify for the scholarships, students were required to have a high grade point average, be involved in a school and community activity, and write a compelling essay about why they were deserving of the scholarship.
They received$1 000 each, a Barbados Nurses Association of America (BNAA) journal to commemorate the organisation’s 55th anniversary, and a special token, all compliments of the BNAA.
During a ceremony held at the BCC campus at Eyrie Howell’s Road, St Michael on Monday, BNAA president Dr Cicely Wilkinson said the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the organisation’s scholarship programme significantly but she was pleased it could still offer assistance to local nurses in training.
“The last three years have been very difficult for the organisation because of the COVID-19 pandemic . . . but we still continue to raise funds for the organisation and it’s an honour to present the scholarships to all of you here today,” she told the award winners. “We would like to do more but, unfortunately, we can only give four scholarships this year.”
President of the Barbados Nurses Association Valerie Francis-Miller said the contributions were definitely needed.
“Today, the Barbados Nurses Association is grateful to the Barbados Nurses Association of America for your support of the nurses of Barbados. I congratulate the recipients of these scholarships. For centuries, the nursing profession has lifted the socioeconomic position of many Barbadians and their families. Therefore, it is still the career of choice for many,” Francis-Miller said.
However, she added that there were challenges facing nursing education.
“The delay in payment of stipends has affected nursing students. Also, nursing personnel professionals who are interested in further studies are often hindered by the lack of financial assistance as was offered in the past. These scholarships are indeed a blessing to Barbados and the Barbadian nurses,” she said.
The BCC’s deputy principal Dr Cheryl Weekes said that studying could be expensive and the scholarships would therefore provide much-needed ease.
“This is an ideal opportunity. We are always looking for opportunities for students to receive monetary contributions . . . and we all, having been students ourselves, know that one of the most expensive decisions we will make in our lives . . . is education . . . .
“And so, here at BCC, we’ve tried as best we can to seek out opportunities for our students to receive recognition for their performances throughout their lives here and we’re fortunate today to have yet another recognition of our nursing students who have been working extremely hard. It’s been a long road for our students to be enrolled in a Bachelor’s programme . . .,” she said.
Scholarship recipient Blackman expressed gratitude to the BNAA for supporting nursing students over the years.
“We would just like to thank the BNAA for granting us these scholarships. Nursing as a major is not cheap, it’s very expensive. I know that these scholarships would go a long way in financing our trips from rotation to rotation, whether it is the polyclinic [or] the hospital. It would also facilitate the buying of books and other nursing equipment so we would just like to say a big thank you,” he said. (SZB)