A retired Trinidad and Tobago-born registered nurse, who has become a naturalized Vincentian, through marriage, was honored with a health care award on Nov. 21 by the Brooklyn-based Trinidad and Tobago Alliance, North America, Inc.
Joan Mayers — who has been married to Vincentian Cleophus Mayers of almost 48 years, and lives in St. Vincent and the Grenadines with her husband — received the Alliance’s Health Care Award during the group’s annual Gala Luncheon and Scholarship Awards Ceremony at El Caribe Country Club on Strickland Avenue in Brooklyn.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected to receive this Health Care Award,” Mayers, who retired from SUNY Downstate Medical Center and University Hospital of Brooklyn after 30 years, told patrons. “Thank you all so much for being here to share in this occasion. I am so honored to have my work recognized in this way.
“Many years of labor were put into my nursing profession, and it means so much to me that the work I am so passionate about, also resonates with others,” she added. “This accomplishment is not something that I did alone, and there are many others who deserve to share in this award.”
Mayers thanked the Alliance for the honor, as well as her family; the Brooklyn-based Trinidad and Tobago Nurses Association of America, Inc.; the Retired St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses Association; and friends and supporters; among others.
“Thanks to the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance Honoree Committee for offering recognition to health care workers like me,” she said. “I hope that this recognition of my work may serve as an inspiration to others in the field.
“Remember, if my commitment can make a difference, so can yours,” Mayers urged. “I will continue my efforts to render excellent quality of nursing care and look forward to bringing about positive change in the profession of nursing. I am humbled and appreciative.”
Mayers, who was born in Tobago, Trinidad’s sister island, said she migrated to the US as a young adult and continued her education to the post-master’s level.
She said she gained employment as a graduate nurse in 1979 and remained at SUNY Downstate Medical Center until retirement, after which she settled in her adopted home, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Mayers said her interest in the care of nephrology patients led her to become the first and only Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN) in the Department of Nursing Services at Downstate.
As nursing evolved around information technology, she said she was also the first nurse to obtain certification in Medical Information Systems Technology.
As her love for education increased, Mayers said she was appointed as the first and only Renal Nurse Educator who managed the care for all categories of patients diagnosed with renal diseases: pre-dialysis, dialysis (all categories) and kidney and liver transplant.
In collaboration with the physicians, she said she was involved in the first national clinical trial studies for the use of Epoetin Alfa (Epogen) in hemodialysis patients.
Mayers said her nursing research on dietary experiences of the English-speaking West Indian hemodialysis patient led to dietary reform in nutrition teachings of this population.
“This prospective, qualitative research study was the first culturally sensitive research published on dietary influences in that international nursing journal, the American Nephrology Nursing Association,” she said.
Among her other accomplishments, Mayers co-founded the Nephrology Nurses Association, Brooklyn Chapter; and coordinated and executed information management training, as well as basic life support training, for greater than 700 hospital employees annually.
Mayers has been a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Nurses Association of America, Inc. since 1990 and currently serves as its public relations officer.
In addition, she is a founding and executive member of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Retired Nurses Association.
Mayers said she is “very grateful” to her family and friends, “who continue to encourage” her to live her best life.