Bermuda Nurse Of The Year Award Ceremony

May 16, 2016

[Written by Chris Famous]

Recently, for a brief second I thought that I had died and went to heaven.

On Sunday May 1st I was invited to attend the Bermuda Nurses Association 2016 Nurse of the Year Award Luncheon which was held at the beautiful setting of Newstead’s Beau Rivage Restaurant.

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The room was filled to capacity with over 100 persons comprised of Nurses, Nursing students, nurses auxiliary, and their supportive friends and family.

A fabulous buffet of hot and cold foods saw long lines of persons eagerly anticipating their taste buds being seduced and satisfied with the delectable items such as but not limited to; sushi, roast beef, seasonal vegetables, bbq ribs  and the all-time traditional  Sunday Bermuda dish of Codfish and potatoes with dat vell tomato sauce.

I must say hats off to the culinary and wait staff at Newstead with both the food and service exceeding expectations.

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Now back to the main story


The Bermuda Nurses Association [BNA] was founded in 1967. Its vision is ‘To be Bermuda’s professional organization with all nurses in Bermuda as members.

The mission is to enhance the nursing profession and influence the delivery of quality nursing care in Bermuda

With 2016 being their 31th annual award ceremony the emcee of the day the President of the BNA, Ms. Maxine Herbert- Watson took to the stand and began to proceed with the awards ceremony.  There was a beautiful solo sung by Shamairah Darrell.

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Mrs. Kathy Ann Swan RN, Nurse of the Year 2015, then introduced the guest speaker Mrs. Sonya Stowe RN who spoke on the power of nurses beyond the hospital room. Her speech was based on the International Council of Nurses [ICN] theme: Nurses; A Force for Change: Improving Health Systems Resilience.

There were to be five nominations shared and Ms. Beverley Brangman RN who sits as the BNA Nomination Committee Chairperson took to the podium to begin this process. NOTY Nominations included:

  • Mrs. Beverley Howell
  • Ms. Kim Ball
  • Christine Baco
  • Heloisa Ambrosio
  • Deondra Springs

It then came time for the Nurse of the year award. This one proved to be a shocker to almost the entire audience. When reading out the accolades of the person who was to receive the award the following attributes were used to describe her: Experienced with over thirty years in nursing, caring, passionate, never described her day as work, Evening Night Manager at KEMH, radio host of Health is Wealth, Brownie Leader and facilitator of the CHIP Programme,

Then the bomb dropped.

Standing ovations

Nurse Beverly Howell was named as the Nurse of the Year for 2016. The entire room stood to their feet and erupted with applause. Well the entire room besides Nurse Howell who was in a state of disbelief, shock, surprise and most of all pride.

Nurse Of The Year Award Bermuda May 14 2016 IMG_1911

She literally had to take a few minutes to collect her self-wiping away tears of joy whilst making her way to the podium. When at the podium Nurse Maxine Herbert – Watson gave her a cell phone to speak to her daughter who is off island. It was truly a moment of magic pulled off by those in the know.

Traditionally the nurse of the year is awarded a number of items including but not limited to:-

  • Bouquet of flowers
  • A silver trophy with all of the NOTY engraved from 1985
  • Numerous gift Certificates from various stores on the island
  • Night stay at Newstead

Perhaps the most important award a nurse has is knowing that they have been the best patient advocate that they could be.

It was then time for the 2015 NOTY to hand over the BNA, NOTY Banner to the 2016, NOTY Mrs. Beverley Howell. What a moment.

Dignitaries then came to the podium to share congratulatory works to Mrs. Howell:

  • The Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment ; Hon Jeanne Atherden JP MP
  • Mrs. Venetta Symonds; CEO and President of the BHB
  • Mrs. Gaynell Hayward Caesar; Chief Nursing Officer

The luncheon closed with a Mrs. Nadijah Shakir; impersonating Mrs. Myrtle ‘Sweet Cup Cake ‘Smith from Shady Loquat Tree Rest Home in Pembroke , a vibrant 92 year old lady who wanted to thank the nurses for all that they do for her. She wanted to show a small token of her appreciation.  Her performance had the room roaring.

Nurse Of The Year Award Bermuda May 14 2016 IMG_1954

After the award ceremony I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Kathy Ann Swan RN who has been in the nursing field for over thirty years. More recently she has been on the forefront of introducing a nursing program to the Bermuda College in 2013 and is the Director of Nursing Education at the college.
This program was designed primarily for Bermudian residents which allows them entry into the nursing profession and promotes educational progression

I also had the pleasure of speaking with young Bermudian nurse Ms. Vinisha Saltus who spoke of her passion for this profession. She is a Registered Nurse in Wound Care and Hyperbaric Unit and also on the BNA Executive

I would encourage you all to listen to the audio of these short interviews.

As stated earlier in a room with a magnificent view  an endless supply of every type of food one could eat and filed wall to wall with loving and caring nurses one could easily believe that they had died and gone to heaven.

I am booking my return trip for next year’s event now.


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