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May 7, 2019

Honouring Nurses for Saving Lives

Nurses Week is celebrated around the world at this time of the year to highlight the significant contributions that nurses make in the discharge of their noble profession. In Belize City today, several nurses with many years of experience were honoured for going beyond the call of duty to save lives. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Nurses are defined as the backbone of the medical community and this week has been set aside to identify and recognise nurses across the country for going above and beyond in healthcare. Marla Swaso has been working as a nurse for the past thirteen years and was on Monday, honoured for her years of service to the profession. The Grade-three staff nurse at the K.H.M.H. is a certified dialysis nurse at the dialysis unit and helps to provide the four-hour procedure to renal failure patients six days a week. While some may say it is a thankless job, Nurse Swaso says it’s quite the opposite.


Marla Swaso, Certified Dialysis Nurse, K.H.M.H.

Marla Swaso

“When you watch your patient walking down the street and they are living their normal lives—that’s the best part of nursing. You work hard on that patient and to see that patient walking down the street, that’s the best feeling in the world. It’s been a lot of ups and downs especially when you watch how when it comes to healthcare some patients genuinely can’t afford. Like a simple blood test, some patients can’t afford. So your heart aches for them, but there is no way that we can help them.”


The Accident and Emergency Unit of the K.H.M.H. is the point of entry for most patients—whether victims of trauma such as shootings or accidents and even chronic diseases. Acting unit manager, Joy Omini has been a nurse for the past ten years; nine of those have been in the accident and emergency unit. She says that the reward of the job is that as a nurse, every day you save lives.


Joy Omini, Acting A&E Unit Manager, K.H.M.H.

“One thing I tell my nurses is to breathe. Do not allow your pulse to be faster than that of the patient or slower than that of the patient. Be in sync with your patient so do not get distracted, but always have your mental mindset on what you want to achieve.  If you want to save the person’s life, you have to be calm.”


Today, a health fair was organized on the parking lot of the national referral hospital where students and the public were able to better understand the different types of services provided by the institution and to dialogue with the healthcare practitioners. Third former at Nazarene High School, Semira Rivas, says that the event reaffirms why she wants to become a paediatrician.


Semira Rivas, 3rd Form Student, Nazarene High School

Semira Rivas

“I love working with children and being around them. Growing up, I was always surrounding by children due to the fact that my mother runs a day care. So when it was time to choose my profession, it wouldn’t be difficult. When I walked in, the first booth taught me how to take care of children in incubator; when they are premature, how to tend to them. So I was learning more and understanding it better than when I was at school.”


There are currently two hundred and five nurses employed at the K.H.M.H. from various countries. That number is not enough to meet the patient demand at the healthcare facility. The shortage is among some of the many challenges faced at the hospital.


Judith Savery

Judith Savery, Assistant Nursing Director, K.H.M.H.

“We are challenged every day. Nurses are very short. We are faced with double shifts, nurses having to be called out of the homes to come to work. Nurses here having to do more than sixteen hours per day which is too much. We also have on the weekends when it is the most time when nurses are short.”


The nurses also had an advice for those who would like to take up the profession.


Joy Omini

“For nurses who are upcoming, I urge you to be open to the experience of being a nurse and allow the passion to flow in. I never wanted to be a nurse, but I got to love nursing. And trust me, I would in my next life be a nurse because every day I wake up, I know I am saving a life and when I go to bed, I know I saved a life.”


Marla Swaso

“If you love the job, give your hundred percent. Yes there will be times when you are stressed out and you are frustrated, but think of the patient; treat them as if though they are family. And yes, when they are being rude, call them on it.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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