Vassell-Shettlewood hailed as epitome of a nurse | News

Charmaine Vassell-Shettlewood, the senior public health nurse who rallied hundreds of her colleagues for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and vaccinations in Kingston and St Andrew, died on Wednesday after a period of illness.

“We have lost a fine veteran of public health, the kind who has made a great contribution to the health and well-being of the people of Jamaica,” Health and Welfare Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton said Thursday in expressing his condolences to the Vassell-Shettlewood family. , colleagues and loved ones.

He noted that she was instrumental in the COVID-19 containment efforts, having led contact tracing after the first case of the virus in the country. She was also credited as one of the island’s top experts on contact tracing.

Vassell-Shettlewood, who worked in the Kingston and St Andrew Department of Health overseen by the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), was also active in training new community health assistants during the course of the pandemic.

In 2020, SERHA recognized Vassell-Shettlewood for its excellent service in nursing and midwifery care.


SERHA regional director Errol Greene described the late public health nurse as a dedicated professional.

“She took care of her patients and was very hardworking and we could trust her. … She was very passionate about her work and she was passionate about people,” Green said. the gleaner. “She was very caring and was the epitome of what a nurse really should be.”

In an interview in May 2020, Vassell-Shettlewood told the Jamaica Information Service that although she had been on the front lines of other public health emergencies, the COVID-19 pandemic was unique in its multi-sector reach and impact.

“I have isolated myself since March 14. I was on vacation when I was called to resume work. Most of us (health professionals) have self-isolated because we don’t want to put our family members at risk. Instead, we communicate using WhatsApp, FaceTime, and other avenues. We are not spending the time that we would normally spend with our families,” Vassell-Shettlewood said.

A clinical preceptor at the University Hospital of the West Indies since 2009, she was also concerned about the health of her students and wanted to prevent them from contracting the virus.

“All my students have my number. They know that if they need any guidance in the clinical area, they know that if they have any concerns, they can feel free to call me at any time and I answer and offer guidance…. I spend quality time with them because I want them to be good nurses,” she said.

Vassell-Shettlewood was one of four siblings to pursue nursing careers. She also has a niece who is a medical doctor.

“I believe that I am called by God to be a nurse. There was no point in my life growing up wanting to be anything other than a nurse. … God wanted me to be a nurse to help people,” she said.

Vassell-Shettlewood also served as an in-service coordinator at the Kingston and St Andrew Health Department, where she worked for the last 20 years, overseeing eight health centers: Edna Manley, Stony Hill, Golden Spring, Parks Road, Essex Hall, the King Weston, Mount Charles and Lawrence Tavern clinics.

Despite these challenges posed by the pandemic, Vassell-Shettlewood said she was not discouraged and vowed to keep working until her retirement.

“I enjoy what I do and love nursing with a passion. If I had the chance to live my life, to live it over again, I would definitely choose nursing,” she said.

[email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like