Father’s illness prompted nursing career
Bermuda's nurse of the year says it was the failing health of a family member that started her on her career path a half-century ago.
Carys Caisey, a mental wellness officer at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute, was named the Bermuda Nurses Association's Nurse of the Year 2017 last weekend.
Some 350 people turned out for the sold-out event at the Fairmont Southampton on Saturday.
The evening also honoured the association's past presidents.
Voting to nominate candidates was open to healthcare professionals, as well as members of the public.
A committee then selected Ms Caisey from the candidates.
According to Ms Caisey, despite both parents working as nurses, she initially wanted to work as a teacher, while her sister was set on pursuing the family profession.
That changed when her father became sick after suffering a massive stroke when she was 10.
“My sister, through that experience, turned her right off,” the 61-year-old Smith's resident said.
“But to me, a lightbulb went off, and I just said that's what I want to do; I want to be a nurse.
“That's when my journey started — and I've never regretted it.”
Ms Caisey, who has worked in nursing for the last 40 years, 25 of which have been spent at MWI, said she was “stunned” by Saturday's recognition.
“But I was also very joyous, because my speciality is in the mental health arena,” she said.
The award, she thought, would help provide a platform for talking about mental health-related issues.
“It's that aspect of healthcare that's not always spoken about,” Ms Caisey said.
“Particularly in Bermuda, I think, with it being a very small community, I have no doubt that there are many people who are struggling on a day-to-day basis with mental health issues, who are just sometimes too afraid to seek help.”
Regarding mental health, she added: “We have to talk about it, we have to have parity, we have to have equality.”
The diversity of her work, she said, was the best part of her job.
“I never know from day-to-day what I'm going to be doing.”
Encouraging and energising young Bermudians to think about psychiatric nursing as a career was also important.
“It's a very rewarding profession,” she said.
“You really feel that you make a difference.”
The recent recognition, Ms Caisey said, was not solely hers.
“On Saturday when I was able to speak, eventually, I said this is just not my award,” she said.
“I don't work in isolation — I work with a phenomenal team of professionals.”
The award is not the property of the professionals at all, however, she said.
“This cup really belongs to the clients, because without them, there would be no us,” Ms Caisey said.
“It's an honour to be able to be part of their journey.”