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Jacqueline Lightbourne (1935-2020)

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A former top nurse appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire 20 years ago for her contribution to healthcare has died.

Jacqueline Lightbourne, the island's first Chief Nursing Officer, was 84. Ms Lightbourne started at the Department of Health in the early 1970s and rose through the ranks.

She became the first Co-ordinator of Nursing Services in Bermuda before she became Chief Nursing Officer.

Ms Lightbourne told the Mid-Ocean News in 1991: “The bottom line in community nursing is commitment — dedication to your profession, and the people you serve.”

Her son, Yuri Lightbourne, said she was the first Chief Nursing Officer and one of the first black nurses to work at the hospital.

He added: “She did a lot of firsts in Bermuda and began a lot of important classes.

“She was a go-getter who encouraged a lot of young people to go into the field of health.

“She had a motto that you should do things today because you never know what's going to happen tomorrow.”

Ms Lightbourne established the island's first mothercraft classes on childbirth.

She helped create the first geriatric aide programme at Bermuda College, as well as the college's nursing refresher course.

A former school nurse, she also helped set up the Government's child development programme.

Ms Lightbourne was also a founding member of the Bermuda Nurses' Association and was its president from 1971 to 1972.

Renée Faulcon, the present head of the BNA, said Ms Lightbourne was “instrumental with initiating change and advancing the role of the professional nurse in the history of nursing in Bermuda”.

Ms Faulcon added: “She not only supported the development of nursing in Bermuda, but also established networks with nurse leaders in the Caribbean.”

Ms Lightbourne was one of the prime movers behind a Caribbean Nurses' Organisation workshop held on the island in 1979.

She also worked with the Pan American Health Organisation and represented Bermuda on the Caribbean regional nursing body.

She helped to steer regulatory changes for nursing in the Caribbean and her links with Paho helped several Bermudian nurses get fellowships for public health training.

Ms Lightbourne hosted the island's first Paho disaster management and mitigation workshop in 1981, which helped to create the model for hurricane response.

Mr Lightbourne said he went on regular travels through the Caribbean and South America with his mother on her Paho work.

He added Ms Lightbourne helped treat patients after they sheltered in a hotel cellar in Dominica in 1979, when the country was hit by Hurricane David, which killed 42 people and injured many more.

Laura Lynn Jackson, the child health co-ordinator at the Department of Health, said Ms Lightbourne was “a flexible leader and responsive to the staff needs with balancing work and family commitments. She functioned on the honour system”.

Ms Lightbourne also served at the Bermuda Public Service Association, the forerunner to the Bermuda Public Services Union.

She joined the board of directors at Age Concern in the early 2000s

Ms Lightbourne sat on the board in the era of Brian and Joy Leman, with Sir John Plowman and Lady Swan among other distinguished board members.

She was involved in the organisation's educational work.

Although she was a board member, she preferred more hands-on work as a volunteer supporting education and membership events in areas such as health and wellbeing and seniors' protection, as well as assisting with fundraising.

Claudette Fleming, the executive director of Age Concern, said: “She was an island-wide, well-respected, career civil servant with relationships that spanned from the grass roots of the community to the Cabinet.

“I recall her persistence in being involved with Age Concern, as she was committed personally to remain as active as possible in her retirement years.

“She was well deserving of the MBE awarded to her and she will be remembered as a pillar of community nursing and service of her day.”

She is survived by her son, daughter-in-law Linda Lightbourne, and granddaughters Gemma and Natalie Lightbourne.

Jacqueline Elizabeth Lightbourne, former Chief Nursing Officer, was born on October 16, 1935. She died on September 9, 2020, aged 84

Flexible leader: Jacqueline Lightbourne, was one of the first black nurses to be employed at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital

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Published September 25, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated September 25, 2020 at 12:37 pm)

Jacqueline Lightbourne (1935-2020)

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