LFC Programme participants with their project presentations. (L-R): Cornell Johnson, Deshan Mortimer, Sindy Bullard, Bianca Edwards, Bernadette Colebrook, and Behanker Rolle.
LFC Programme participants with their project presentations. (L-R): Cornell Johnson, Deshan Mortimer, Sindy Bullard, Bianca Edwards, Bernadette Colebrook, and Behanker Rolle.

Six nurses in Eleuthera, on June 17th, 2022, were the very proud graduates from the Leadership for Change (LFC) and Training of Trainers (ToT) Programme, facilitated by the Nurses’ Association of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas (NACB). The graduation ceremony was hosted at St. Patrick’s Anglican Church Hall in Governor’s Harbour, beginning at 11am on Friday morning.

Moderator for the morning’s ceremony was, Deputy President of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation, as well as LCF Facilitator Mrs. Rosemarie Josey. In attendance was Member of Parliament for Central and South Eleuthera, Minister Clay Sweeting; along with NACB president, Ms. Rebecca Johnson; Mrs. Prescola Rolle, Past President of the Nurses Association, and the LFC Programme’s Country Coordinator; and facilitators/trainers for the year-long programme, which had been hosted for the first time in Eleuthera. Also in attendance were nurse leaders in Eleuthera, Mrs. Freda Cooper – Nurse In-Charge (NOI) Palmetto Point Clinic, Mrs. Monique Cambridge NOI Hatchet Bay Clinic and Mrs. Deandra Frazier RM RN South Eleuthera District.

Graduating nurse participants in the LFC and ToT Programme included: Sindy Bullard, Bernadette Colebrook, Bianca Edwards, Cornell Johnson, Deshan Mortimer, and Behanker Rolle.

In remarks during the ceremony, NACB president Ms. Rebecca Johnson stated that in recent years, the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses had increased their call for governments, policy makers, and healthcare leaders to invest in nurses if they wished to secure global health and strengthen healthcare delivery systems.  “So, as the president of the Nurses’ Association of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, I am delighted to welcome you all here today to witness that the NACB has accepted the challenge to invest in nurses and for the very first time has brought the Leadership for Change (LFC) Programme to the island of Eleuthera.”

Minister Clay Sweeting congratulated the graduates as he expressed how he and others on the island depend heavily on the nurses to care for their loved ones.  He was happy to mention the near-term plans for the much needed medical facilities on the island.

Leadership for Change Programme Graduates, with Facilitators, NACB Leaders, and MP Clay Sweeting.
Leadership for Change Programme Graduates, with Facilitators, NACB Leaders, and MP Clay Sweeting.

Keynote speaker on the morning was Pastor Diallo Ingraham, who charged the graduates with three I’s.  Firstly, influence of self; that is to encourage yourself, and first make that direct inner connection. Next, was inclusion of others in the way forward, as no one is able to do great work by themselves. Lastly, was information technology to utilize the invisible realm to improve healthcare throughout the island and the country.

In a charge to the new ‘Nursing Leaders’ Mrs. Prescola, Past President of the Nurses Association, and the LFC Programme’s Country Coordinator told the graduates that the enhanced leadership skills coming out of the program, such as problem solving, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, negotiation and decision-making abilities will help them successfully lead change to improve health services and outcomes at the local, national, regional and international levels. She pointed out that the International Council of Nurses (ICN) theme for the year is “Nurses – A voice to lead: Invest in Nursing and respect Rights to Secure Global Health” is most timely.  She stressed to the new leaders that they should let their voices be heard wherever they are for the betterment of the profession.

As internationally prepared leaders she assured the graduates that they must know that they belong to whatever space they find themselves in and that they bring value to that space. Whatever situation they are in their voices are important and are needed not only for the safe and effective care of their clients but their voices are valuable to the advancement of the nursing profession.

Mrs. Rolle admonished them that their voices must now begin to help shape policies about how healthcare should be given, how nursing should and must change and most importantly their voices must be used to help develop best-case scenarios and algorithms for improvement in their client’s lives while build health capacity of the country. She encouraged them that as they take on more leadership roles they must commit to mentoring others, and always strive to be their authentic selves.  She congratulated them on the innovative stellar change projects that they produced and advised that the impact will be felt not only in Eleuthera but throughout the Bahamas. She then charged them to go out and light the world around them.

Ms. Cornell Johnson RN and chairperson for NACB – Eleuthera branch gave the graduate’s response for LFC and ToT programs. She reflected on each graduate’s view of the program and how it had inspired and greatly impacted on their lives. She shared, “This program has cultivated both personal and professional growth and development. Nurses on all levels should take the opportunity to enroll in this program which will empower them and promote knowledge and resources to build up and sustain the high standards of our nursing profession.  As nurse leaders we are never in competition with each other but rather we are stronger and more effective when we complement each other.

“LFC encourages us as Nurse Leaders to be visionaries and have the courage and creativity to make profound impact in nursing that improves our communities.  The ICN maintains a standard of nursing to adjust to a changing society.  Therefore, we are privileged to have an opportunity to be a part of and are now able to effectively articulate within the global nursing leadership community.  We gained a new perspective as we accepted the charge to build up the nursing profession.  It is now our responsibility to empower and encourage other nurses in the profession to join the NACB and to enroll in the LFC program, because your mindset will never be the same.”

During the course of the programme, the graduates were involved in completing a significant project within their communities that would elevate both nursing and their level of service. Nurse Johnson, both a graduate on the day, and NACB chairperson of the Eleuthera branch, commented on the completed projects, saying, “The projects coming from this training will each have a significant impact on our profession and society.  The first one by Sindy Bullard, deals with addressing policy that restricts visitation of parents to infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at the Princess Margaret Hospital.  The other by Cornell Johnson and Deshan Mortimer was creating a handbook to serve as a resource for nurses experiencing negative psychological affects while working during a crisis.  The third by Bianca Edwards, Behanker Rolle, and Bernadette Colebrook was development of a mobile app to connect with and monitor clients with chronic non-communicable diseases to promote regimen adherence.”