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Home Care Nurse Damalee Connor

DamaleeConnor~speaks about her profession~

When she was a little girl, Damalee Connor would spend her time pampering the elderly clients at St. Martin's Home whenever she accompanied her mother to work. Today, she plays an even greater role looking after the wellbeing of White Yellow Cross Foundation clients as a Home Care Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

Connor says she is a loving, caring, soft-hearted person, who enjoys having a good time. These traits, coupled with her passion for the field, make her one of the more loved and appreciated nurses. "I am a very hard worker, who is reliable and always ready and willing to help others in need. I take pride in taking care of my patients and giving them the best quality care," she told Health and Beauty.

Connor, who was born at the old St. Rose Hospital on August 21, 1981, tells us more about her profession.

When did you discover your love for healthcare?

At a very young age, I would accompany my mother, the late Christine Connor, who then worked as a cook at St. Martin's Home, to work. I would always want to help feed the patients or comb their hair, which they enjoyed so much that my mom then started bringing bags of mangoes or candy from my patients. They would always want to know how I was doing and eager to know when I would be coming by to pamper them. The joy and smiles these visits brought to their faces made me realise that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a nurse.

What is it about healthcare that you like?

I love the fact that I am able to care for my clients and give them that sense of assurance that there's someone there who genuinely cares for them. When I hear a patient say, "Thank you, Nurse"; it melts my heart and makes me feel proud to know that I am doing a great job in giving my clients the quality care they deserve.

Where were you educated and what did you study?

I attended Sister Magda Primary School, followed by Sundial School where I studied Basic Health Care. I then attended IFE Nursing School in Curaçao and studied Zieken Verzorgende (ZV). During my studies at IFE, my mom took ill with breast cancer and I returned to be at her side. I did Nursing Assistance in 2010 followed by internship at St Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) to become an LPN.

How long have you been at St. Martin's Home and how did this affliction come about?

I started working at St. Martin's Home since June 2003 and have never worked anywhere else. I was called one day by White Yellow Cross official Bregje Boetekees, who knew of my interest in working with the Home. Of course, my response was yes. Additional to this, I worked as a call up Nurse at SMMC. Currently, I'm doing Home Care.

What are your tasks at St Maarten's Home?

At times, I'm in charge of my shift, where I need to ensure that everyone who is on duty is following procedures, such as giving the clients their medication on time. My daily tasks include providing quality and proper care to my clients, according to the organisation's protocol, as well as to being an advocate for my clients and for students.

What differentiates you from other LPNs?

My dedication, compassion and love for my job.

Best aspects of being in this position?

The best aspect of being in this position is knowing that the clients have been well taken care of and they are alive and well at the end of each shift.

How do you think you contribute to a better society via your position?

I contribute by ensuring that each client that comes to St. Martin's Home is given the care and comfort that welcome them into their new living environment.

How do you think this field can be improved in St. Maarten?

This field can be improved if proper materials and tools are provided to ensure clients' safety and wellbeing are an even greater priority. Second, more qualified personnel would eliminate the pressures of overworked nurses to allow them to provide even more quality care that clients require. It's also very encouraging and imperative that family members take some time out of their busy schedules to visit their loved ones on a daily or weekly basis and not just leave it up to the nurses.

What's the craziest/funniest/scariest thing that has happened to you in your line of work?

The craziest and funniest thing was seeing one of our clients dancing to "Kick in she back door", at our senior Christmas staff party. I was stunned! The scariest thing was learning of the passing of a client I had just left on my shift; who had given no indication that I wouldn't see her again alive.

Future goals (personal and professional)?

My future goals are to own my own family home and to become a Registered Nurse.

Hobbies?

My hobbies are having a good time. I love everything about carnival. I participate every year. I enjoy dancing, singing and listening to music. I just recently travelled to Trinidad and took part and it was an awesome experience! I also like all Crime Scene Investigation series.

Pet peeve?

When I'm unable to assist my clients in the manner I would like to.

Biggest fear?

My biggest fear is drowning because I can't swim and I love the beach.

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