CARING IN THE CAYMANS

Alumnae advance nursing practice in this multicultural island nation



UM nursing alumnae Trisha Ebanks, Hazel Brown, Lizzette Yearwood, and Catherine Henning are health care colleagues at Cayman Islands Hospital

The Cayman Islands-a British colony consisting of three islands about 180 miles northwest of Jamaica - may be tiny in terms of land mass. But when it comes to optimizing the potential of nursing to improve the health of communities, several alumnae of the School of Nursing and Health Studies who live and work in this Caribbean nation are thinking big.

Hazel Brown, M.S.N. '87, serves as chief nursing officer of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority and its flagship hospital in George Town (the system also includes another hospital and several clinics around the Caymans).

Lizzette (Howell) Yearwood, B.S.N. '92, is acting chief executive officer of the Health Services Authority. "UM transformed my perspective on health care delivery," says Yearwood, who is pursuing a master's degree in health administration. "In my current position I'm able to advance quality patient care through policy development and administration. It's exciting to be able to give back to the profession that has given me so much."

 

We're looking to bring a new level of critical analysis to the way nursing is practiced here and to develop the next generation of nursing leaders.

 

Alumnae of the school who provide clinical care at Cayman Islands Hospital include emergency department nurse Trisha Ebanks, B.S.N. '01; pediatric nurse Catherine Henning, B.S.N. '01; and surgical nurse Lisa Robinson, B.S.N. '91. "I'm proud to tell people I graduated from UM, and I'm passionate about mentoring fellow nurses," says Henning, who is now pursuing a master's degree in nursing education online.

In recent years, Brown has sought to focus health education and resources on the growing problem of child obesity, as prevalent in the Caymans as it is in the U.S. "It will take several years to see real change," she says, "but there is a growing awareness." Another key goal is the development of a program that will enable the nation's practicing nurses to earn their B.S.N. online.

Brown was also instrumental in the conversion of the health authority to an electronic recordkeeping system and in the organization of the country's second annual nursing conference, which drew nearly 300 attendees. "We're looking to bring a new level of critical analysis to the way nursing is practiced here and to develop the next generation of nursing leaders," she says.

No nation of any size could ask for better role models than these proud and highly productive alumnae.