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May 10, 2022

Highlighting K.H.M.H. Nurses on Nurses Week

The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is staffed with one hundred and seventy nurses. On each shift, five nurses are assigned to each of the thirteen units that make up the facility. A registered nurse can make anywhere between nine and fifteen dollars an hour. Dependent on where they are on the pay-scale, what they take home in salary is often times just enough to make ends meet. Additionally, thirty percent of the nurses at the K.H.M.H. are reportedly single mothers. So these nurses are always looking for opportunities where they can make a better income with more benefits overseas. The K.H.M.H. has reportedly lost about seventy nurses over an extended period due to migration. But, there are those nurses who chose to remain at the K.H.M.H. in service to Belizeans. Nurse Casilda Bowman heads the COVID and Emergency Units. News Five’s Paul Lopez spoke with her on the occasion of Nurses Week 2022.


Casilda Bowman

Casilda Bowman, Nurse, K.H.M.H. COVID & Emergency Units

“When I look back on the last two years in the pandemic, one of the thing that really resonated with me was having empathy. Sometimes yes, we can physically treat patients, but being empathetic is one of the most important ingredients for providing health care to patients. I recognize that and I have seen it day in, day out. As we come to work every day we realize that yes we need fih have a little bit more empathy. That is one of the lessons that I personally learnt, how to try to be more empathetic to our patients.”


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The importance of the nursing profession to the K.H.M.H. became more evident at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when beds were filled to capacity. These unsung heroes braved out extended shifts in hazmat suits and limited refreshments. Currently they are experiencing some relief. Still, the work continues.


Casilda Bowman

“It has not passed really, but it has slowed down significantly. But, yes we do have a steady increase of numbers on a daily basis. We have more numbers in the accident and emergency right now. But yes, COVID has certainly decreased. We are not really relaxing because we still need to provide patient care for all patients that come in.”


Bowman says that treatment is not limited to physical care. She believes a nurse should be prepared to offer emotional and spiritual care to a patient. In fact, the only human interaction many patients who were admitted to the COVID unit had was with these nurses.


Casilda Bowman

“One of the things to really understand as nurses are yes we are individuals and so yes we do come with our own baggage. We have issues at home. You come here and you are morally distressed because you are understaffed, and that adds to it. But, I do believe, and for me where at Karl Heusner, we do offer care for anybody who comes in. When I look at any patient that comes into the hospital, for me I want to provide holistic care for all patients, that does not only mean physical care but emotional and physical care as well.”


May sixth to the twelfth is celebrated as Nurses Week in Belize.This year’s theme is “Nurse, a Voice to Lead, Invest in Nursing and Respect Rights to Secure Global Health”.  The theme is fitting as greater investment in nursing may be the solution to migration and under-staffing issues being faced currently.


Casilda Bowman

 “When I think about investment, I think about having more opportunities for our nurses. I think we have a lot of people who would be willing to go into the profession, but opportunities really help play a key in it. Also, working in the unit as a leader, one of the most important things in strengthening our staff is mentoring. So, for me, I am trying to mentor as much people to be leaders because I actually see a lot of potential that our nurses have. So, investing in our people helps to strengthen our infrastructure.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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