This month of May sets aside a time for recognizing nurses, and all they do to give care to those in need. Nursing is a true labour of love. Nurses work tirelessly and are often overlooked, so Weekender wants to take this time to say thank you to the nurses of our island in a three-part series. This week we look at St. Maarten White Yellow Cross.

It is often said that the greatness of a nation will be judged by the way it treats the weakest and most vulnerable members of its society. If that is so, then St. Maarten can stand proudly amongst some of the greatest nations, this due to the care provided for the clients of Sister Basilia Center and White and Yellow Cross’ Trusted Care Foundation.

Through the work of these caring professionals, the clients, who are mentally or physically disabled and developmentally-challenged citizens, can feel respected and nurtured in a healthy and loving environment. Through the support of our nation’s social network, the compound in St. John’s Estate offers a clean and comfortable home with dormitory-style bedrooms and a big kitchen and an air-conditioned living room for gathering, socializing, watching TV or playing games. The grounds are maintained with a garden-like beauty which invites relaxation and creative thoughts. The clients range in age from children to adults.

Sister Basilia Center’s aim, exemplified by the nursing and therapeutic staff, is to encourage all clients to reach their maximum potential, according to their own individual ability. They believe in total care for those who need help with daily living tasks; and providing guidance to those capable of stepping out on their own. Toward this end, since October 2003, a group of adult clients has been established, that is, employed part-time in the business sector, provided they are capable of the work and have a properly sociable character.

Merlene Maxwell, one of the nurses who cares for these individuals, noted that she has been with the organization since its early days in the mid-90s, “We have grown so much. At first we were just crawling along, then we started to creep, then walk then run, and now we are flying!” She also shared her enthusiasm for the work that is done for the clients and their families. “We let our clients live full lives, and let them see they are loved. We are like a big family; we play together, we sing together, we do drama and storytelling. We go the extra mile for our clients – every kind of care they need, we give it to them. We have so much fun, it’s really wonderful.”

The Trusted Care Foundation is not just a Nursing Home for the elderly, or a Residence for disabled or a Day Care; it’s much more than that! It’s a place where our clients can live their values, in a safe and clean environment; where client centricity, attentiveness, respect and empathy are always on display. The standard of care in this foundation is excellent and we should all be proud of what they do. With that in mind, let us all say thank you to a nurse or caregiver this week!

Next weekend, we conclude this tribute to nurses with a look at St. Maarten Medical Center’s nursing staff.

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