“It has been my passion since I was a child,” Nurse Mignott, calmly, explains her chosen career path.
Thirty-year-old Andrea Mignott, who has been working with this passion for the past six years, was awarded Nurse of the Year at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) for Clinical Excellence in 2009.
A graduate of the University Hospital of the West Indies’ School of Nursing, she specialises in dialysis. This is the treatment of patients with kidney problems, by pumping the blood through a dialyser to remove impurities.
Nurse Mignott thinks highly of her profession, and knows that this is where she belongs.
“I chose nursing, because I have this passion for caring for the sick and I like to see them recover from whatever illness they have. I also like to promote healthy lifestyles and help prevent them from getting worse…I thought nursing was a good way to do this,” she told JIS News in a recent interview.
And she is not in the least daunted by the late hours. This happens when nurses are called to dialyse patients on what is known as the “on call system”. No matter what time of the night it is, if the nurse on duty cannot be reached, Miss Mignott willingly fills in.
“You’re called out on emergency duty for a patient with ‘fluid overload’…and in urgent need of dialysis. You rush out to dialyse the patient, and you get a sense of satisfaction after the treatment, because the patient normalises and goes back to feeling well,” she explains.
“Before the treatment, they have swellings, shortness of breath, are unable to talk, suffer great discomfort and have to go through the three and a half to four hours of dialysis. When you see all that distress gone, you feel satisfied that you have done some good that has touched somebody’s life. That person could have died and, as a dialysis nurse, you go urgently just to save a life,” she adds.
Nurse Mignott describes herself as an individual with enough strong qualities to help her put everything into what she does. In her own words, she describes herself as, “dependable, reliable, committed, responsible and flexible.”
“I can be called at anytime, I’m humble and I interact well with my patients,” she observes and, with these characteristics, it is not hard to see why she does so well.
Her friend of two years, Simone Walters, told JIS News that she has known her for over two years, and nothing about her has changed since then.
“She is a jovial person: She is a no-nonsense person…hardworking, she always looks out for her patients and her co-workers…She’s always there. I think she goes beyond her call of duty,” she volunteers.
“It’s very good, very good…She’s down to earth and she’s always looking out for them…A nurse who is always going to the pharmacy to get medication for them…always calling the doctor about her patients. That’s just the kind of person she is,” Ms. Walters describes her.
Nurse Mignott at work at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI)
Born in Annotto Bay, St. Mary, Nurse Mignott is the eldest of three children. She grew up in a single-parent household with her mother and two younger brothers. Although she did not have an easy childhood, she reminisced that she received the support and encouragement she needed from her mother and brothers, which was enough to help her to grow up into the ambitious individual she is.
She attended the Annotto Bay All-Age School and later St. Mary High School. She grew up in the church which, she said, played an important role in shaping her as a person.
“My Sunday School really helped to shape my life. In 2003 I got saved. Now, I’m a member of the New Covenant Church,” she divulged.
At a time when many nurses are prepared to emigrate to developed countries to seek better financial rewards, Nurse Mignott insists that she has no intention of leaving Jamaica.
“My family [is] here and I don’t see the need to leave…I feel more relaxed and comfortable here at home,” she said.
But, with all those positive attributes, being named Nurse of the Year came as big surprise to her.
She said that when she was summoned by the Senior Director of Nursing, she kept asking herself, ‘What did I do? Why me?’
“I had no choice but to get dressed and go to see her. I was told that I had been observed over the years, recognised for my hard work and accomplishments. She told me about nurses that would be honoured for the year, and that I had been chosen Nurse of the Year. I was very honoured,” she said.
“It meant that my hard work had not gone unnoticed. For all the hours I had put in, the nights I came out, they didn’t go unnoticed and I give God thanks for that,” she explained.
Nurse Mignott’s mother, Valerie Walters, was also elated by the achievement. She noted that while it was not easy raising three children on her own, her daughter’s personality helped to ease her burden.
“It was a struggle raising them, especially when all three were in high school at the same time. There were times when Andrea would tell me to give her just the bus fare, and give her younger brothers bus fare and lunch money. She would rather let someone else have, while she went without,” Ms. Walters revealed.
“When she was about 13 or 14 years old, her grandfather developed prostate cancer and he had to wear a catheter. Andrea would always go with him to the hospital and the nurses there showed her how to change it. She took such good care of him; she even used to bathe him,” she related.
Nurse Mignott’s says her goal now is to reach the top of the profession.
“I really love it and I am going to go to the highest level in nursing no matter what, or how many years it takes: I will reach the highest level and that’s my aim,” she insists.
She is also looking forward to raising her own family, but will wait until the foundations are laid.
“I would love to have a family of my own, but I would also love to make sure that I have things in place for the family: things I didn’t have as a child,” she remarks.