When Teon Waithe walked across the stage on graduation day at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, to accept her Bachelor’s degree, in nursing from the Barbados Community College, she was completely overjoyed, “I felt ecstatic and accomplished,” the new nurse, who received upper second class honors, confessed. For Teon, who is the first recipient of Bayview Hospital’s nursing scholarship that moment which represented the culmination of perseverance and hard work, was a dream come true.
Since the age of 16, Teon, knew nursing was her calling. “I am the oldest of 5 and had the responsibility of helping with my siblings, because my mum traveled a lot for work. Sometimes I would have to miss school, if one of my brothers or sisters was ill, staying at home to take care of them. This definitely influenced my decision to become a nurse. I can not imagine doing anything else.”
Determination is very much a part of Teon’s character. The 33-year-old Guyanese native immigrated to Barbados at the age of 11 and attended a private high school that unfortunately did not focus on CXC’s, which meant that upon leaving there she had to work towards those qualifications privately over the course of a several years. Teon would eventually earn 6 CXC’s. During that time, she did a one-year course in medical transcription and then went to BCC, where she completed a course to become a nursing assistant. Following this Teon went on to work at the Heart and Stroke Foundation as a cardiac rehab nursing assistant in 2013.
Never losing site of her goal, and with just enough money for the first year, Teon took a leap of faith, she left her job in 2015 and returned to BCC as a full-time nursing student. “I didn’t know how I was going to get through, but I had faith that God would provide and that the money would come.”
The journey was not an easy one. During the second year of her studies, Teon’s father passed away and financing the second year was also stressful, but she managed to make it through. In her third year Teon would experience another tragedy with the death of her brother. Despite everything, Teon persevered. It was around this difficult time that she first heard about the scholarship being offered by Bayview Hospital for final year nursing students. Initially, Teon did not apply because she thought it was only for Barbadian applicants. Shortly before the deadline she decided to apply anyway. Teon is extremely glad she did, because after applying she learned that applicants just needed to be a resident of Barbados. She was overjoyed when after being shortlisted, she was awarded the scholarship. “The scholarship came at the right time I really needed the financial assistance.”
Hardwork Pays Off
Teon passed her registration exam, which she took in early October, with flying colors and is now a fully qualified registered nurse. “I wanted to scream and jump for joy, all the hard work has paid off.” She attributes her success to commitment, determination, family support and faith.
“I couldn’t have done it without those things, this is a great accomplishment and I’m really proud of myself. The journey took a while, but I am really happy.”
As part of the scholarship Teon will work at Bayview for 6 months. She began her eight weeks of training at Bayview in October. “The 8 weeks has been amazing. The best feeling was when a patient came back to say thank you, it was a great feeling to know I am doing something good.”
For Teon the entire experience with Bayview has been a positive one.
“I am blessed and feel so good that I don’t have to go job hunting.
The staff is friendly, it feels like a family, I really love the work environment.”
Teon has some advice for anyone thinking about becoming a nurse.
“It takes a special type of person to be a nurse you have to be caring. Don’t do it for the wrong reason make sure it’s something you really want to do. We all need money to live but money can’t be the only motivating factor. You need to be a people person and the care of your patient has to be at the forefront of your mind.”