YOLANDA Alcindor is a gifted, selfless, God-fearing woman that I think you’ll love just as much as I do. She’s a trailblazer from Dennery and a former student of the Clendon Mason Memorial Secondary School. I interviewed this “shero” recently and fell in love with her story. Hopefully you will too.
“I always wanted to be a nurse. Growing up, the community health nurse was very close to my mom; she was like part of the family. Since my mother is a farmer and vendor, she was always busy so she would send us to the health center and the nurse would care for us. Up to a day like today they are still friends,” Yolanda revealed.
“I studied nursing at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) from 1993 to 1996 where I attained an Associate’s Degree. I went back to SALCC in 2000 where I obtained a diploma in midwifery,” she added.
She worked at the Victoria Hospital (V.H.) for ten years after her journey at SALCC ended. Life at V.H. was anything but normal.
“I started working as a finalist in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department. A&E was very exciting. I was young (19 going on 20) full of energy, doing night duty,” she explained.
But of course, there’s the heartbreak and it came shortly after.
“(Losing a patient) can be very difficult. Sometimes it touches you because when you meet with persons, especially if they do not die right away, you always see certain traits in that person you can relate to. It could be the age, physical build or maybe it’s somebody you know,” she said sadly.
“One of the things I’ve learned is that despite your accomplishments and status in society, we all are humans and we all can be affected by illness. Also, to treat each person as you would like to be treated and to be kind and empathize with each other no matter what the situation is,” Yolanda stated.
She comes from a humble home. One of six children, Yolanda was the first to attend secondary school.
“I was the second child. My brother (the one before me) didn’t attend secondary school because he was always assisting on the farm. I would help a lot with the house chores: cooking, doing the dishes after school, doing the laundry, and so on. I cared for all my siblings after me because my mother was always in the garden and after work she would make brooms,” Yolanda explained.
According to her, “(because of the way I grew up) I understand people’s struggles and I learn to appreciate what I have. I appreciate hard work and education. Anything is possible if you put in the effort.”
For Yolanda, the latter is certainly true. A former student of Queen Margaret University and The University of the West Indies (she has two Master’s degrees), the family nurse practitioner is certainly an inspiration to many.
She’s now a community nurse and she’s touched many lives.
“The first community I worked in was Micoud. I was the community health nurse at the Micoud Health Center and that’s where I developed a passion for chronic non communicable diseases. I was transferred to region seven and I worked there for seven years. I was later transferred to region three and I’ve been working there since. This year I got an acting appointment as Principal Nursing Officer in the Dennery hospital,” the 44-year-old said.
Although she has been in the nursing field for a long time, she believes that she definitely hasn’t seen it all.
“I wouldn’t say that because look at how 2020 turned out,” she said.
COVID-19 undoubtedly changed the lives of persons worldwide and frontline workers felt the brunt of it.
“We got our first case in March. When it was about June/July and it was still around I felt a bit overwhelmed because (it still wasn’t under control). There was no sign of it going anywhere. Afterwards I told myself you just have to face it and do what needs to be done,” she stated.
“It got to the point where I had to work with persons who were confirmed cases, I had family members who were confirmed cases so I have gone through it with COVID. I had to be there for my family members and see that they recover and return to work and so on. It was challenging because I had to work but their illness was very mild so that was comforting,” she added.
Although she doesn’t have much time to spare these days, she’s grateful for the free moments. She especially loves being with family members and spending time in the garden.
“I’m involved in so many things so my time is really limited. I have an eight-year-old son and I have to do online schooling now and so on. I enjoy spending time with my family, nothing can replace it. It’s not about money or so on but the time you’d spend to sit, laugh, share a meal together, etc.,” Yolanda said appreciatively.
Christian, First Vice President of the Saint Lucia Nurses Association, and all-round life lover, Yolanda’s definitely a shining light.