Exceptional is the word that clearly describes this week's personality of Our Community. Even though San Pedro only has a limited amount of nurses, it is only fair to say that the few that we have are the best of the rest. Allow us to highlight one of them - Nurse Shawmela Kelly of the San Pedro Health Center.
Shawmela was born on August 31st, 1968 and grew up in Belize City along with three brothers and one sister. She attended St. Joseph's Primary School and then Pallotti High School, graduating in 1986. After graduation, she remained home for a period of two years to decide which field she would venture into.
You might be wondering how she decided on the nursing field. Kelly explains that she decided to study nursing because of her mom. Her mother, who she greatly admires, has been a nurse for over thirty years. She wanted to follow in her footsteps because people respected and admired her. Kelly decided to enroll in a two year nursing program at the Bliss School of Nursing where she was certified as a Practical Nurse/Midwife. Since then, Nurse Kelly has been a Rural Health Nurse. After her certification, Nurse Kelly was ready for the challenge, but never expected where her first assignment would take her. She moved to a totally new environment, namely San Antonio Village, in Punta Gorda. There, the way of life, language and culture was different from what she was used to. The people in San Antonio Village were mostly Mopan and Kekchi Mayas, so Nurse Kelly also had the extra challenge of learning their language, which she did. She would have to travel either by foot or by horse to the villages to conduct immunizations. Some of these trips lasted as long as five to six hours. "My first job was a challenge, but I managed to overcome the obstacles and I feel that this first experience is very symbolical of my career," said Nurse Kelly.
Eventually Nurse Kelly went back to Belize City where she stayed for three years. This is when she was offered a job in San Pedro. At first she was skeptical because when she would think of San Pedro, the first thing that would come to mind was the sea, and she was afraid of the sea. Anyhow, she decided to take the job and does not regret it one bit. On November 26th, 1995, Nurse Kelly, along with Dr. Giovanni Solorzano, started the San Pedro Health Clinic. "The people in San Pedro were warm, friendly and supportive. They gave me the courage to go on every day," commented Kelly. Since then, Nurse Kelly has been an asset to this island. She is very vital to San Pedro and performs a wide variety of services to the general public. Some of her services include pre-natal and adolescent counseling, conducting pre and post-natal clinics, family planning, child health, immunizations, home visits for the elderly and others who need it, emergencies, health education and child deliveries. Nurse Kelly is also a published writer in the Health Beat column of the San Pedro Sun.
Nurse Kelly is a well-respected person in San Pedro. She has two children; Kenisha and Keisha Young; both attend San Pedro R. C. School. When asked to say a few words to the readers, Nurse Kelly commented, "I try my best to continue good health services in San Pedro along with the doctors and nurses. What I strongly believe in is unity. All health personnel should unite for the betterment of one's well being. I also strongly believe in good parental interaction. It is important for parents to interact with their children, be supportive and understand their basic needs. In closing I urge for continued support from the community. This plays a vital role in the development process for the welfare of our town. With good motivation and man power a great deal can be accomplished. With us coming together, we can continue to make our "Jewel" a good tourist attraction; safe, clean and healthy."
Recently, word on the street was that Nurse Kelly was to be transferred from the island. We are very happy to report that this will not occur. Nurse Kelly will be in San Pedro for at least one more year (let's hope it is more than one). Her patience and friendliness towards her patients are unique and admirable. Our Community embraces the great work of Nurse Kelly.
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