SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) – The St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) celebrated its fifth annual Nurse Orris Jack Bell Award (NOJBA) on May 11th, 2019.
The Orris Jack Bell award recognizes a nurse who serves as the perfect example of what it means to be a nurse. One who is dedicated, self-less and who willingly goes above and beyond to be the caregiver that the community needs, as Nurse Orris Jack Bell has done for nursing in the years she served in the field.
Nurse Orris Jack Bell herself, legends (retirees), award nominees and their friends and families came out to the luncheon which was held at the charming Little Well Oasis in Cole Bay. The event celebrated its theme “Nurses Who Paved the Way” through honoring nurses of past and present that have been role models within nursing on the island. A pre-celebratory lagoon cruise was enjoyed by over 60 legends (retired nurses) prior to the award ceremony.
The Celebration of Nursing Legends and the Nurse Orris Jack Bell Award was created by Antonio Pantophlet and Brunilda Illidge of the SMMC.
This year the event was hosted by Brunilda Illidge of SMMC’s Education department. An opening speech was delivered by SMMC’s Manager Patient Care/Education, Antonio Pantophlet. Fellow organizers include Vitalia Richardson and Magriet Priest of the SMMC Education department.
This year’s five nominees were Mae Grace Zurita (SMMC), Frank Bannis (SMMC), Nancy Flanders (St. Martin’s Home), Suzette De Cuba (District Nursing) and Nirmala Vlaun (Public Health). Each person embodies the spirit of the award within the various institutions on the island. Frank Bannis was awarded the Orris Jack Bell Award this year presented to him by Nurse Orris Jack Bell herself. He is the fifth recipient of the award. Past winners include, Orris Jack Bell, Daphne St. Rose (St. Martin’s home) Rafael Antione (SMMC) and Marisol Wilson (Prison).
Bernadette Gumbs (SMMC) was the newly and only inducted nursing legend. She was presented an award for her continued passion and dedication to her job. In addition, a pleasantly surprised Viola Sing (former lab technician SLS), was presented the Supportive Legend Award. A supportive legend is retiree who has worked closely with nurses throughout their career. Last year’s recipient was Geraldine Eerland (SMMC, former Supervisor of Radiology).
A moment of silence was held for all nurses who passed within the past year (2018-2019) honoring their memories. Nurses remembered include Graciela Virginia, Truus Schaminee, Rudmila Ipcedencia and Sheryl York.
The observance was festive, as the guests enjoyed good food and the musical talents of an excellent DJ Ruby. Antonio shared his thoughts on the importance of such an event. “This event is always a wonderful time for our nurses and our legends to come together in celebration of all nurses. We will continue to give thanks to all nurses who have paved the way for our nurses today”.