When chief nurse, Miss Kenide, started at St. Boniface 12 years ago, she was one of five nurses and one of just four auxiliary nurses working at the hospital.
Upon graduating from nursing school in her hometown of Aux Cayes, Miss Kenide moved to Les Anglais to complete a year of social service. Soon thereafter, she heard of a job opportunity from a friend of a friend who happened to work as a lab technician at St. Boniface.
“Somehow in the conversation, it came up that there was an open position for a nurse, so I applied and came here. I didn’t know about Fond-des-Blancs or that there was even a hospital here,” explains Miss Kenide. “My friend who drove me thought that she knew of Fond-des-Blancs, but really she was thinking of Fond-des-Negres. So we got lost on the way here!”
Despite being initially hesitant to move to an unfamiliar town, Miss Kenide quickly began taking advantage of the opportunities St. Boniface afforded.
“I just never left. After one year I started to learn sonography, and then I started learning radiography. The training program gave me the opportunity to learn more skills and be totally engaged in my work,” she says. “With each year that passed, I became more attached to St.Boniface—the staff, the community, and all the things that make our hospital and town special. Eventually, I became the head nurse. I don’t have any reason to leave St. Boniface. I’m still learning.”
Miss Kenide believes St.Boniface is not only unique in its educational opportunities, but also in the quality of care it provides and the vast resources made available to its highly-trained staff.
Every day I’m motivated to become better. We have equipment and supplies to help our staff facilitate patient care. Not every hospital is like St. Boniface; some other hospitals make patients pay before receiving care. Here, it’s always care first.
Kenide Bien-Aime, Chief Nurse
“We are a hospital with a lot of compassion and competency; we give care with all of our heart. Every hospital should be like that. It’s clear that patients really value the care they receive here.”
In a little over a decade, Miss Kenide has seen St. Boniface undergo many changes.
“When I started, we weren’t seeing the number of patients that we’re seeing today. We weren’t as large in term of size, either. It’s changed so much that I can’t even remember where the old inpatient rooms used to be. These changes have allowed us to offer more services to our patients.” She hesitates, “Though, I wish we had more space because the number of people we serve keeps increasing and the staff keeps increasing, as well.”
She has become an integral part of the hospital—well-liked and respected among patients and staff—but Miss Kinede wasn’t always set on becoming a nurse.
“I wanted to become a doctor, but my father didn’t want me to,” she says. “My mother died when she was young, and my father didn’t want me to go away to medical school for 7 years. I am the oldest of four siblings, and I had to be around to care for my younger brothers and sister. He encouraged me to go to nursing school, instead. I always liked to care for people. As a nurse, you see people walk in the door in need of care, and you see them walk out healthy. It’s very fulfilling.”
But Miss Kenide acknowledges that perhaps the most fulfilling part of her job is being able to work alongside the other hospital staff members.
“What makes me very happy is the relationships that develop between the staff; we’re like a family,” she says. “We’re all very comfortable with one other, invested in each other, and invested in our work at the hospital. It’s been very rewarding to work with these people.”
Miss Kenide recalls one of the hospital’s more recent feats of teamwork and her fondest memory from her time at St. Boniface: The unveiling of the new Maternal Health (MNH) Center last year.
“That was a beautiful moment. We put our heads together, and you would have thought that professionals had organized it. From that moment on, we’ve worked together to make sure that day-to-day operations are smooth at the MNH center. Now I know that when we unify, we can accomplish anything.”
Another memory that still resonates with her is that of a patient who needed a simple procedure but couldn't afford it.
“He came in after being turned away from several hospitals. He had a hernia, but he didn’t have any money for the operation. He actually began to think that he had an inoperable and incurable condition because he had been transferred so many times. We operated on him shortly after he arrived,” she explains.
“It’s very simple, but stories like this keep me at St. Boniface.”