2023 Nurse of Year exclaims: ‘I did not believe what I was hearing!’

www.SheHub.tv is sending a hearty congratulations to the Bermuda Nurses Association’s (BNA) 2023 Nurse of The Year, Renee Faulcon. Ms. Faulcon is the immediate past President of the BNA. A Nurse Educator, Ms Faulcon is passionate about the profession and consistently encourages young male and female Bermudians to join the field.

While involved with the organising of the month of events, she had no clue that she was the recipient of the prestigious recognition.

Here, in her words, she reflects on what being a nurse means to her.

The Surprise…

The first Sunday of May is traditionally the day for the Bermuda Nurses Association’s annual brunch to acknowledge nurses’ contributions to Bermuda’s community. It is also the time to announce the Nurse of the Year, someone who exemplifies the qualities of a Registered Nurse, care, and compassion for the community served.   The year 2023 was my fourth year to be nominated in Bermuda. Many years ago, I was nominated as Nurse of the Year for the hospital as a staff nurse in Baltimore, Maryland.

You never find out who nominates you, so it is always a surprise that someone is watching me and thinks I should be given this distinguished award.   On the day of the brunch, you find out the names of all the nominees; I was sure someone else would win.

When I was announced as the 2023 Nurse of the Year, I was shocked and surprised. I did not believe what I was hearing. I asked, “Are you sure?”
It is truly surreal to know that my peers and colleagues nominated me and decided I deserve to be the 2023 Nurse of the Year.
My purpose for working as a Registered Nurse is never to receive an award. I aim to serve others and ensure that I provide the best care for my patients; and, as a nurse educator, provide quality instruction, support, and mentoring for the students.

How her journey in nursing began…

My nursing career started in 1990. I was 25 years old and a new mother to a six-month-old baby boy. Nursing was not my first choice for a career. I was not sure what I wanted to do. While I attended Bermuda College, I spoke with a career counsellor who suggested I explore nursing.

I also talked with family, friends, and relatives who worked in health care. They told me stories about their career in nursing. I was intrigued and decided it may be an excellent choice for me.   So I applied to nursing school and was accepted into Towson State University Nursing School in Maryland.

Getting accepted into nursing school was indeed a challenge.

You are competing with numerous students for 20 to 30 spaces in the programme. Once you enter, you must work hard and study long hours to learn theoretical concepts in nursing and practical hands-on experiences with real clients in the hospitals and community. I truly enjoyed my time as a nursing student as I learned my craft and developed a love of taking care of people who require medical care.

Since achieving my undergraduate degree from Towson University in 1989 and my graduate degree from Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina 2010,  I have worked in several areas of nursing, Medical-Surgical Nursing, Home Health, IV therapy, and I am currently a nurse educator.

What is most rewarding about being a nurse is observing the improvement in patient care and achieving the desired outcomes.   Home health care is an area that was most rewarding for me. It allows nurses to utilise their critical thinking skills when completing assessments and interventions required for various patient care treatments. As a home care nurse, you have to make quick decisions about the course of action to ensure the client receives the best care based on the available resources. During this time, I knew I wanted to transition to nursing education. I thoroughly enjoyed patient teaching and mentoring nurses new to home care. So, I decided to explore formal training for nursing education and haven’t stopped since.

What being recognised as the 2023 Nurse of the Year means to her…

I was never a public speaker or a person who wanted to be at the forefront as a leader or spokesperson. I was always that nurse in the background doing my job, supporting and encouraging other nurses to do their best. Now that I am Nurse of the Year, I realise how important it is to represent the qualities of this profession. I am now recognisable in the community as the representative for the BNA  and nursing.

I want to exemplify professionalism, care, and concern for others. Nursing education is my first love in this profession. I enjoy mentoring students and helping them navigate their journey to becoming registered Nurses. I am also passionate about advancing the profession and promoting diversity in Bermuda. We have nurses pursuing advanced degrees, such as clinical specialists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives.

Advocating for nurses to work to their full scope of practice is critical to help improve health systems and patient outcomes.

I want to thank my family, who supported me over the years, especially my three children who are adults now, James, Ceil, and Adrienne. They have witnessed my growth in nursing, and I hope that I have been a shining example to them. Finally, thank you to the members of the Bermuda Nurses Association and the Nursing Leaders in Bermuda for believing in me. I feel blessed to have the honour of being Nurse of the Year 2023.

Are you interested in becoming a nurse or want to learn more about nursing? Visit the BNA website here.

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