Simone David

Registered Nurse

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, specializing in Oncology

My name is Simone David. I am a registered Nurse employed with the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA), where I provide healthcare to the people of Tobago who are diagnosed with cancer.

In 2004, I decided to become a Nurse because of my ever-growing love for the profession. I have always perceived Nurses to be selfless individuals, who give of themselves to help care for those who cannot care for themselves.

I graduated from the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) with an Associate Degree in Nursing in 2007. I then began my nursing career by being hired by the TRHA and was assigned to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department in September 2008, which I considered to be a joy and a privilege, although sometimes a trying experience.

Working in the A & E Department requires a skill that not every Nurse possesses. You have to always be quick on your feet and in the event of an emergency there is no time to stand and think “what to do next” as the patient’s life is now in your hands and is at risk of demise.

I must acknowledge some of the many Nurses and Doctors back in those days, who imparted their wisdom and knowledge to me and other newly employed Nurses, took us under their wings and taught us well. To name a few, there was Nurse Hyacinth Rodriguez (former Head Nurse), Nurse Cheryl Isaac (Senior ENA) and Dr. Richards, who served as the Consultant at the time. After working in the A&E Department under the watch of these brilliant minds for four and a half (4 ½) years, I decided it was time to further my education.

In August 2011, I embarked on a journey to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, specializing in Oncology at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine on a part-time basis. Living and working in Tobago while studying in Trinidad was not without its difficulties but I decided that if others could do it, then who was I not to do it and be successful.

I graduated from UWI in October 2014 and I must say, it was one of the best experiences in my life. I met some marvelous people on my journey, who with the help of each other and God, made the experience more memorable. Nothing is impossible with God, and I believed that he did not bring me that far to leave me, so all praises belong to him.

I continued my nursing career working in the Oncology Unit in May 2012 under the watch of Nurse Avril Dolly (former Head Nurse) and Dr. Anthony Thompson, who was instrumental in expanding and cementing the knowledge I had in Oncology Nursing.

It is important to note that throughout my journey, I did not do it alone. I had assistance spiritually, mentally and financially. My immediate and Church family were there to keep me grounded through difficult periods of my studies and financially, I received support from the Financial Assistance Unit now known as the Department of Advanced Training and Advisory Services (DATAS).

During my first year in the second semester, one of my colleagues informed me about DATAS, which proved beneficial in helping me to pay rent while staying in Trinidad for classes, books, tuition and for purchasing travel tickets. Due to this financial help, a huge part of my burden was lifted and I was able to focus more on the important things, like passing my courses and graduating in the time frame allotted to me.

Although the process for financial aid was a bit tedious, it was not all that difficult. The person assigned to me was very professional and was there whenever I needed assistance or had questions that needed to be answered. I must note that DATAS was not just giving away money to me freely, as there was a price I had to pay. Accordingly, I had to ensure that 3.0 grade point average (GPA) was maintained each semester. If this was not maintained, I was given an improvement of academic performance letter indicating such, along with motivational encouragement from my assigned officer. Although there were times, I failed a subject and my GPA dropped, I was not penalized or refused further funding for my program. Once my GPA did not fall below 2.0. The support team was there to guide me and ensure that I stayed on track with my studies, to maintain my GPA.

What I love most about my job is knowing that I can make someone’s day better with just a smile or kind, encouraging words. I try to put myself in the patient’s position and see things from their perspective.

A diagnosis of cancer is not an easy thing to hear, and many people deem it a death sentence, but it does not have to be. In my Unit, we develop interpersonal relationships with the clients and guide them step by step throughout their cancer journey. 

It is always a joy to be able to see firsthand the success stories of cancer survivors and to know that somewhere along the line, I played an important part in that journey.

To anyone desirous of pursuing a career path in nursing, I would advise you to go for it but do not just do it because it is something everyone else is doing. Make sure you are passionate about the work you will find yourself doing. You must love interacting with the public on all scales. You must know how to impart comforting words to someone who is in pain because they just lost a loved one. You will sometimes have to forget about yourself and what you are going through, to be able to deal with someone else who is probably going through the same thing or even worse. Finally, in all that you do, make sure that the Lord is at the center of it all and that all will be well.

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