Nassau, THE BAHAMAS — More than 100 graduates of the University of The Bahamas’ School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions(SNAHP) have pledged to serve the nursing profession with honour and integrity after completing rigorous academic requirements.
The graduates participated in UB’s Pinning Ceremony held recently in the Grand Ballroom of the Atlantis Paradise Island Convention Centre. Among the grads were 97 who completed the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programme and 40 who completed the Trained Clinical Nursing programme.
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and a shortage of skilled nursing professionals, these graduates are needed now, more than ever. Several recounted tales of resilience in order to overcome recent challenges.
“It was very rough, because I actually had COVID-19,” said Antanisha Mackey BSN grad. “Not only did I have COVID-19, it was just a lot working in environments, even in the clinical, whereas you have situations where you would be moved from one ward to the next because they would have patients that may have been exposed. But at the end of the day we still had faith that we would accomplish what we were supposed to do this year.
“It’s very overwhelming. We’ve been here for many years. It was very tedious, but at the end of the day we strived.”
UB Student Trustee, Mackenson Charles, who also graduated with a BSN and served as the Student Trustee on the UB Board of Trustees, recalled his story of perseverance in order to survive the challenges and then thrive.
“At the beginning I actually had contracted COVID, so classes for me were put on hold for a bit,” he said. “Academically, it took a lot of adjusting to the new norm of how the programme was going to be brought to us as students. But I feel great. It’s been a great experience at University of The Bahamas. I’ve enjoyed my time and all activities that were branched towards me. It’s been some trying times throughout the programme, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”
Resilience is also embodied in Tatianna Roberts who completed her academic journey while being pregnant.
“I persevered through a pandemic,” she said. “Also, we were set back the entire year—our class—and when it was time to finally get back into school, into the hospital, I found out I was pregnant, and I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to make it. I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to graduate with my friends. So, I was going through a lot, but I made it, and just in time. Everything in God’s time, and nothing before. So, I’m just grateful.”
As she delivered the keynote address at the pinning ceremony, Mrs. Patricia Ellis, a registered nurse by profession, called the nursing grads a cadre of survivors who are perfectly equipped to succeed in the nursing profession.
“Today, believe it or not, you become a healthcare professional who is ready to serve society and is prepared to withstand the vicissitudes of this noble, and what could sometimes feel and seem like, an unfaithful profession,” said Mrs. Ellis. “If you truly regard this profession as being a part of your life’s assignment, if you can see this as a major part of your purpose for coming into this world, then let me assure you that you have everything you need to be a successful healthcare professional no matter the odds.”
The commitment, determination, and resourcefulness of the nursing grads were not lost on their former lecturers and advisors. Dr. T. Jerome Campbell, the first male Chair of the SNAHP, commended them for seeing their academic pursuits through to the end. He also specially recognized the six male nursing grads who were present at the ceremony.
“Amidst the extended clinical rotations, the ward restrictions and closures, working in an environment where exposure risk was high, and the uncertainty of what the next day may present with, you stood resilient in your pursuit,” said Dr. Campbell. “The commitment, strength, and recognition attained by you during the time of a pandemic are tributes to you, your interest, and your care to the profession you have chosen. It is a testimony of your willingness to succeed against the odds.”
Dr. Maria Woodside-Oriakhi, VP of Academic Affairs, said Wednesday’s pinning ceremony instilled a sense of shared gratitude amongst the faculty and staff for committing to a profession whose importance has been magnified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic has been such a damaging historical event, I am grateful for the light it has shed on the immense value of our healthcare workers and the integral role that nurses in particular play in the overall health of the nation,” said Dr. Oriakhi. “The commitment and determination that you have all demonstrated over these past two years has finally paid off.”
UB’s Spring 2022 Commencement under the theme “We Survived, Now We Thrive: Succeeding Against the Odds” was held the day after the pinning ceremony and was the first in-person commencement since the pandemic.