Shashana Lawrence is the LASCO/NAJ Nurse of the Year 2014-2015. The honour was conferred on the critical care nurse from the Kingston Public Hospital at an awards ceremony to culminate Nurses Week 2014 on Saturday, July 19 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
Shashana Lawrence was awarded the LASCO Nurse of the Year trophy and a cash award of $200,000, among other trophies and prizes. She has taken the baton from the outgoing LASCO Nurse of the Year 2013/2014 Shailee Neish, whose was instrumental in re-launching the Nursing Student Association. Sherry-Ann Shaw took the first runner-up spot while Sadrieka Williams placed third. Among numerous gift baskets and prizes, the runners-up received LASCO trophies, a cash award of $150,000 and $100,000 respectively.
LASCO has collectively increased the prizes for the Nurse of the Year programme from $350,000 to $550,000 and have invested over $4M to support the nurses’ activities this year, according to Lascelles Chin, Founder and Executive Director of the LASCO Affiliated Companies.
Speaking at the event, Mr Chin urged the nurses to recognize the significance of their role.
“The theme A force for change – A vital resource for health is quite appropriate because if the vision for Jamaica as the place to work, live, do business and raise families is to be achieved, nurses as a vital resource for health, must play a leading role in bringing about the changes so urgently needed for a healthy population. Therefore, I urge you to accept that the future of the health sector is in your hands. Stalwarts like Mary Seacole, Mary Seivright and Hyacinth Lightbourne have paved the way and broken barriers for you,” he said.
The most outstanding Nursing Student of the Year is Ava-Gail Lindsay, a third year student at Caribbean School of Nursing at the University of Technology, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. She received the LASCO trophy, $100,000 and other prizes. Lindsay is currently the President of the University Of Technology Association Of Nursing.
Shashana Lawrence, who dominated the awards, having placed in the top three in nine categories, was overwhelmed at her achievement. “Being named Nurse of the Year is very exciting, it feels really good. I only wish my grandfather could have been here to see me but he has passed on,” said the humble nurse.
The LASCO/NAJ Nurse of the Year title is another accolade to add to the nurse’s list of achievements. Lawrence graduated among the top of her class in the Critical Care Training Programme, is the Chairman of the Critical Care Special Interest Group and was invited to speak at the Critical Care Conference earlier this year. She lives by the mantra that there are no limits, just plateaus, and one must not stay there but go beyond.
She also had words of advice for future nurses. “To the young upcoming nurses, there will be challenges and there are going to be times when your character is going to be scrutinized. As generations change so do nurses, but be true to yourself and don’t lose your caring personality and just continue to give of yourself,” she said.
National Nurses’ Week highlights the invaluable contribution and commitment of Jamaican nurses to the healthcare sector. In keeping with LASCO’s dedication to support and empower the nation’s nurses, the company joined with the NAJ to stage the LASCO Nurse of the Year Award since 1999, putting the spotlight on a nurse who has given outstanding service to the field.