A team of nurses, members of the Jamaican Nurses Association in Florida (JNAF) will begin their annual health mission to Jamaica next Tuesday, (June 13) when they visit several hospitals and health clinics islandwide.
A large shipment of health supplies and surgical instruments totaling almost $10,000 will be distributed to those hospitals including Princess Margaret, May Pen, the Kingston Public and Victoria Jubilee, and also the Bustamante Hospital for Children. The nurses will also visit health clinics in Rocky Point, Clarendon and Victoria Town in Mandeville.
The nurses will also conduct interactive sessions in preventive health care with staff and patients at the health institutions to be visited. Basic clinical care will be administered to needed patients in especially the rural communities, according to Ms. Lornette Patrick, coordinator of the annual mission and immediate past president of the JNAF.
This year, the JNAF will partner with a team of volunteers from the Hope Family Ministry in Fort Lauderdale, led by Minister Hope Robinson for the one-week mission.
Jamaican nurses have continued their mission and commitment in community healthcare delivery and educational support throughout the Diaspora, since they came together and formed the Jamaica Nurses of Florida (JNAF) in 1983.
To coincide with their annual mission, the nurses will be represented on the delegation of nearly 50 attendees from the Southern USA, at the second National Diaspora Conference to be held in Kingston, next week, June 15th and 16th.
The President of the organization, Ms. Beverlin Allen, has expressed in the interest of her peers to look at health concerns in Jamaica, including education programs and more importantly retention of nurses in the island’s institutions.
At the last conference in June 2004, the nurses along with other delegates agreed to a proposal of formalized skills export policy whereby Jamaican training institutions could export trained personnel as well as to meet the local needs of the professionals. Nurses already continue to benefit from that export skilled program.
Today, with nearly 100 members, the nursing group has carried out several missions to aid in community health care in the South Florida communities as well as provide assistance where possible in their homeland, Jamaica.
The profession of nurses is notably one of the largest migratory bodies out of Jamaica and a large number of them have been employed here in South Florida whether in public or private institutions or at other levels of the profession.
The nurses association through the volunteering efforts has to date recorded nearly $70,000 in services and donations to the local community as well as to the frequent Jamaican missions.
Their portfolio ranges from preventive health care delivery to educational support in the field as well as annual scholarships to students entering college.
They continue to give tirelessly to other projects in Jamaica including the Mustard Seed communities, the Missionaries of the Poor, and the National Children’s Home among others.
On the international front, the nurses have participated in like projects in Ghana, Africa, Haiti and several similar activities in local events in South Florida including health fairs, assistance programs for the poor and indigent and school health programs. They have also provided a support system for sick persons coming from Jamaica in dire need of advanced healthcare here.
Members of the JNAF have come to the assistance of nurses making the transition to Florida by helping in matters of education, certification and licensing before relocation is contemplated.
Outside of their profession, the nurses continue to impact the community and enrich their lives as well as that of others in the area of culture, when they serve as members of the Jamaica Nurses Choir. In this regard, they perform annually at the Ecumenical Service to celebrate the Jamaica’s Independence in South Florida as well as at their own fellowship service to commemorate annual Nurses’ Week.
The numerous awards for outstanding contribution over the years, along with the many accolades are testimonials of commitment and dedication as the members of the JNAF continue their mission as an outstanding Jamaican association, consistently promoting a positive, caring and professional image as Jamaican nurses in an overseas community.