FOR more than three decades Natalie Bonimy has devoted countless hours to providing care as a registered nurse. What began as a natural desire to bring comfort to patients-from helpless infants to aging parentsis now a lifetime of memories for the retired nurse. Recently elected President of the Nurses Association o f The Bahamas, this dedicated health care provider looks back on how the decision to become a nurse changed the course of her life. Passion Since 1966 when she enrolled in the Ministry of Health' s Saha mas School Of Nursing Bonimy has moved from bedside nursing to midwifery and finally to community health nursing, her greatest passion. When she was 22, the brave young nurs e who grew up in quiet Arthur's Town, Cat Island, boarded a plane and headed to London to further her nursing studies. "I was a staff nurse at the Prin cess Margaret Hospital when I enrolled at the Radcliffe School of Nursing in Oxford," she said "For 14-months I prepared for the British nursing examination, taking classes that reiterated most or the practices and procedures taught at our own School Of Nurs ing." Between study breaks and on holiday weekends Bonimy, along with other young nurses from Af rica, the Philippines and of course England travelled around Europe soaking up the sights and sounds or France, Spain and Italy and forming lifelong friendships. love Despite seeing half the world by the time she was 25, Nurse Bonimy's travels always led her back to working in the Bahamian community. "In the hospital envi ronment you are dealing with the individual person, helping them recover or making them as comfortable as possible while they re ceive treatment," Boni my explains 'What I love most about community nursing is the ability to deal with the individual as they exist in their environment. Excel We evaluate th e healthy, the sick, the handicapped and focus more on the prevention of dis eases or early detection, proper diets-anything dealing with pro moting an overall healthy lifestyle." A ccording to Bonimy, who earned a speciaUzed diploma in community health, a major re sponsibility or community nurses is to refer persons they encounter on their door-to-door exercises to the hospital and area clinic s for im-munizations and treatments that can ultimately save their lives. Recognising Nurse Bonimy' s commitment to ensuring that all Bahamians receive adequate medical treatment regardless of their location, the Ministry of Health appointed her to be supervisor of all government health clinics In Nassau. Four years later she assumed the same supervisory role as Head Community Nurse for the Family Islands. "For those four years I travelled through Abaco, Cat Island, Exuma, Eleuthera. I saw the length and breath of The Bahamas," said the mother of four who like many other nurses has made many sac rifices to exc el in her profession. Reward To future nurses Bonimy cau tions: "You have to have a strong desire really to want to be a nurse. It's not a high paying job it' s not an easy role to take on but if you really love people and you want t o help then nursing could be an ex tremely rewarding In 1999, after raising her four children-Ingrid, Keisha, Medgar and Davon-with her husband Edgar and after 32 years o f deliv ering babies, administering nee dles and caring for countless pa tients Bonimy retired from the De partment or Public Health. Retiring hasn' t slowed her down, nor has it quell e d her love for nursing. In addition to her new f\JU.t sc )-Retired registered nurse Natalie Bonimy has spent her life providing health care for others. She was recently elected president of The Bahamas Nurses Association 15 She shares deep love for helping patients role as President of the Nurses Association, Nurse Bonimy is a part-time lecturer at the College of The Bahamas, teaching Com munity Health Nursing at the Associates Degree level. An active parishioner at the Curry Methodist Church, she is a member of th e Ladies Fellowship and is a past-president or the Regional Ladies Fellowship. Next month, Bonimy and a small contingent from The Baha mas will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark, to participate in the 22nd Annual Quadrennial Con gress For The International Counsel o f Nu rses (ICN). "The congress is held every four years and this year we will join some 120 nurses from around the world to discuss collaboration among health care professionals and moving from vision to action, she said. While in Europe, Bonimy will also attend the Commonwealth Nurses Federation Conference in London, England. H e r e she hope s to have an opportunity to catch up with the friends she studied and took brave adventures with some 30 years ago. She s kept i n contact with them through letters, cards and occasional phone calls and will finally have a chance to join them for a cup of tea where she can sit and reflect on her unforgettable journey through the world of nursing.