By Jeune Bailey Van Keric
NEW AMSTERDAM-born Chandreka-Persaud Wallace, who left her homeland as a child, was recently promoted as matron of the Alexandra Hospital in the Caribbean island of Nevis.
Born to Lackram and Dyavanti Persaud, the young Chandreka and her sister, Hemwattie. were raised at Betsy Ground, East Canje, Berbice, before emigrating to St Kitts and Nevis, where they joined their parents on December 25, 1999.
From an early age, Chandreka developed a love for nursing. So when she received an opportunity in high school to do an internship, her choice was to go to a hospital to observe the day-to-day operations of the nurses. Those experiences cemented her career path.
Those experiences aside, Chandreka possesses a kind, nurturing and caring personality which makes her the right fit for the job.
In September 2005, she completed training to become a nurse at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, St. Kitts, and began working at the Alexandra Hospital on December 5 of the same year.
The Alexandra Hospital serves a population of some 10,000 people and provides a wide range of services, including obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, gerontology, general surgery and urology.
The building also accommodates Accident/Emergency/Outpatient and Radiology departments.
Chandreka, who is currently pursuing her Master’s in Health Care Management, holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of the West Indies (UWI).
She also hold certification and specialised training incident command and supervisory management from UWI and clinical management of HIV, midwifery, mass casualty care, emergency care and treatment and an Associate Degree in General Nursing from the Clarence Fitzroy Byrant College, St Kitts & Nevis.
During the journey of caring for suffering humanity, the married mother of two worked in all the departments at the hospital. However, most of her years were at the Accident and Emergency Department. Most recently, she worked alongside the Assistant Matron in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Unit.
Prior to her recent appointment, Chandreka, a devout Christian, who attends the Newcastle Wesleyan Holiness Church, was an Assistant Nurse Manager and led several nursing operations.
“These chances have made me better able to organise and coordinate and assigned staff to ensure the smooth operation of the designated shift. Prior to holding this post, I would have also done several stints as Charge Nurse. I have also been given the opportunity to be exposed to nursing administration by shadowing the Assistant Matron whose guidance and wisdom has prepared me for administrative opportunities and embedded leadership practices in me which have made me a more rounded individual,” she told the Guyana Chronicle.
Recalling her years prior to the appointment, the 35-year-old matron said she did not face many challenges as she always had the support of her family and friends around her.
“Therefore, I never had any issues when opportunities arose to better myself. My husband, Stascius, has been a driving force in my life, always encouraging me to be the best that I could be at all times,” she added.
Though she had to adjust to living in a new land, she soon found solace in the warmth and care of the people of St. Kitts. In addition, her warm personality quickly allowed her to connect with her peers.
A former past President of the Nevis Nurses Association for two consecutive terms (2015-2019), Chandreka is hoping to improve nursing practice where necessary, maintain a high standard of care, improve staff morale and lobby for a better nursing fraternity in her adopted homeland.