Lakerah Rolle, Staff Nurse from the Sandilands Rehabilitative Centre led her debate team arguing against the topic: “Be it Resolved that Nurses Do Not Eat Their Young” to win the first ever Nurses Association of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas National Nursing Debate Thursday.

Nurse Rolle, who also won best speaker, was supported by team mates, Department of Public Health Registered Nurse Eldora Beneby and Department of Public Health Registered Nurse Glendina Minus. They won the debate by scoring 452 out of a possible 500 points.

The team won the debate by utilising strong openings and powerful arguments. For example, in beginning her argument Nurse Rolle said: “While it must never be forgotten that inherent in nursing duties is the care of the patient, it is ironic, that nurses suffer from the Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde syndrome.

“While in one instance we are caring, supportive and concerned for our patients, in contrast, we neglect, bully and devour our young nursing colleagues.

“The question must be asked who is caring for the caregiver. It appears that the physical, psycho-social and professional needs of the nurse have been leeched upon and neglected sadly by nurses.”

Ella Jane Anderson, Nursing Officer II in the Princess Margaret Hospital led the proposition and was supported by Department of Public Health Trained Clinical Nurse Camille Bowleg and Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre Trained Clinical Nurse Shantell Bryan.

They received a score of 379 and the team also strongly supported their arguments.

Beginning her argument Nurse Anderson said: “Nurses eating their young, this despicable expression implies that experienced nurses do not treat novice nurses kindly.

“Senior or experienced nurses can be compared to mothers. Which mother cares and nourishes or places another person’s child above her own, unless you are a cruel mother.

“Nursing is all about caring; the majority of us enter the profession because we had a desire to care for others. How can one possibly care for others without caring for self?”

Nurse Rolle went on to explain that it is a common for bad news to travel fast and often be accepted as gospel. She said many new nurses hear the negative phrase and if they encounter a nurse who is less friendly and caring, it is accepted as the norm.

Chairperson of the Education and Research Committee and organiser of the event Persephone Munnings said nursing “eating their young” has been a subject of private debates among nurses for a number of years.

“This nursing debate, the first of its kind in The Bahamas, gives nurses the opportunity to express their views on the topic,” Mrs. Munnings said. “The give and take of debating is essential to the process of democracy.”

She also applauded the participants for their boldness and willingness to speak on a topic that has been avoided for so long.

“I am certain that the experience has been rewarding as it allowed you to experience team work and friendly discourse and has sharpened critical thinking skills,” Mrs. Munnings said. “The debate provides an avenue to strengthen camaraderie, as nurses from throughout the country were invited to participate.”

President of the Nurses Association Prescola Rolle said nurses attending the debate should listen to the arguments for and against and evaluate themselves from the information presented.

“These points will be a guide for us to review our actions and decisions concerning our colleagues,” Mrs. Rolle explained.

“We must think of the golden rule do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Nurses, we must support and respect each other and aim to always model and promote supportive and respectful behaviour.

“You have come here to hear, to judge, to support, but most importantly, to learn from this discussion so we can be that nurse, who nurtures and grooms the young, making this profession, the caring profession nursing must be,” she urged.