Material Information

Portrait of the week Hilda Bowen, MBS
Stanley Toogood
Hilda Valerie Bowen, 1923-2002
Jeannie Isaacs
Place of Publication:
Nassau, Bahamas
The Tribune
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
HBL Archives - Hilda Bowen


Subjects / Keywords:
Nurses -- Bahamas -- Biography


Portrait of Hilda Bowen with brief biographical sketch published in The Tribune on November 1, 1983.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Stanley Toogood

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of The Bahamas
Holding Location:
University of The Bahamas
Rights Management:
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TJIE TRIBUNE-Tuesday, November I, 1983 Hilda Bowen, MBE THE ADVENTUROUS and State Certified Midwife rewarding life of Hilda Bowen qualification was obtained began In Cunningham Lane, Whenever.possible during this Nassau, where she was the period Miss Bowen visited second daughter of Mr and Mrs historical places in the United 1 Irvin W Bowen. Kingdom and Europe. She Now, in active retirement, learnt to appreciate classical Nurse Bowen, M.B.E. still in music, drama, art and sports. her home in Cunnirlgham Lane, She visited Rome and maae a looks back on an eventful life pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, which includes being presented where thousands of people from to four members of the Royal many lands gather with the sick Family, attaining the position hoping to be healed at the place of the Principal Matron for the where it is believed the Virgin Ministry of Health, Bahamas Mary appeared to Bernadette and becoming Chairman of the Among the highlights of this Nursing Council, period was attendance at the Commonwealth Of the Royal Garden Party, Bahamas. Buckingham Palace, in Educated in New Providence, celebration of the crowning of at St Francis Xavier Primary Queen Elizabeth 11. School, Western Junior and Senior S chools and Government Although qualified to return High SchooJ Miss Bowen home in 1952 the Bahamian entered the Public Services as a Health authorities were Teacher at the Eastem_Junior reluctant to agree to Nurse School in 1942. return. With forceful Her keen ambition to become determination she Wrote to the a nurs e was r ewarded by being then Governor of the Bahamas the first person selected by the who took the necessary action Bahamas Government to study and appointed her Nursing nursing in the United Kingdom Sister at the Bahamas General under the Colonial Scholarship Hospital. scheme where she took a When Nurse Bowen, as three-year Basic Nurse directed by the Governor of the Education Programme and Bahamas, appeared, this obtained the State Registered shocked the Bahamian Nurse qualifications in 1950. community as it was the first Her keen interest in time a black person had been Ophthalmic (Eye) Nursing led seen in the hospital compound to her being accepted at the in such attire. Some had world ren o wned Moorfields Eye foretold that this could never Hospital, London, where she happen. was awarded the Bronze Buckle The first nursing assignment as the most outstanding was in the Out Island post-graduate nurse of 1951. Department with responsibility However, to obtain a Nursing for the eye clinic. There was no Sister post in the Bahamas it ophthalmic Doctor in the was essential for her to qualify Bahamas at that time. in Midwifery. Scotland, which During the period 1953 to offered die best-iraining in that 1956 the senior members of the field, was chosen and at the Nursing Service were an English Inglis Maternity Hospital and Matron and then Nursing Stirling Royal Infirmary her Sisters with Nurse Bowen as the / only Bahamian. She was then awarded Study Leave to undertake a course in Nursing Ad ministration at the Royal College of Nursing London On her return to the Bahamas after successfully completing this Administration course the main objective was to upgrade the system of Nurse Education Among her international activities Nurse Bowen acted as Secretary of the National Nurses Association at the International Congress of Nurses held in Japan, 1977. She remarks that a feeling of great pride was experienced while walking in the procession of the national delegates behind our flag, which was carried by a Nursing Student from Japan. Nurse Bowen was presented to Her Majesty the Queen in 1966 during her visit to the Princess Margaret Hospital. She was also presented to Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret in 1955 and to His Royal Highness Prince Charles in 1973. In 1969 she was awarded an .. M.B.E. for the development of Nursing Education in the Bahamas. Nurse Bowen's hobbies are foreign travel, of which she has visited many countries including a Safari in Kenya. Visits to the Far East include Hong Kong and Thailand. She collects silver plated coffee spoons from countries visited and enjoys reading, especially on nur s ing subjects. Her motto is The Golden Rule. In the years ahead it is Miss Bowen's intention to push for further advancement for the Nurse with special reference to the expanded role which would upgrade the delivery of health to the people of our Family Islands.