25-y-o nurse focused on impacting lives through entrepreneurship Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Registered nurse Shertonia Walker is intent on positively impacting lives and creating employment opportunities within the healthcare sector through entrepreneurship.

After completing her undergraduate studies at the Northern Caribbean University in 2021, the 25-year-old started CARE Nursing Services and More, a healthcare practice aimed at providing flexible and affordable access to medical services for Jamaicans.

The St Thomas native told JIS News that her transition from university to owning her healthcare practice was not as smooth as she had hoped, pointing out that her success was only attained through determination and hard work.

“Leaving my hometown to travel to Manchester for university, I had to develop and capitalise on some attributes like self-motivation, tap into my core values, and focus on why I started nursing in the first place,” she said.

Speaking on healthcare opportunities within the island and her reason for starting her practice, Walker shares that she observed a need for more “private, affordable, and flexible” services, especially within rural areas.

“Rural Jamaica does not have the easy access to healthcare as urban Jamaica. They don’t have [much] opportunities to access type-A hospitals [and] care,” she pointed out.

“[At CARE Nursing Services and More,] we provide type-A care; so we go into rural Jamaica and find out what they are lacking and how we can improve their lives,” the healthcare practitioner added.

Walker said she believes access to healthcare should be convenient for everyone. Consequently, she caters to all groups in society, especially those requiring more flexibility to access services.

“I chose the working class as my [main] target because they are usually very busy and do not have the time to take care of themselves or their families; and the retirees, oftentimes, they don’t want to choose other nursing facilities, for example, nursing homes… they want care in the comfort of their homes,” she pointed out.

Walker said she aims to impact as many people as possible and, by extension, have a lasting effect on their families.

The entrepreneur, who has a staff complement of 18, indicates that she is grateful to be able to contribute in a way that affords people the opportunity to meet their basic needs and have a better life for themselves and their families.

She admitted that as a young professional in the healthcare industry, she often encounters persons who judge her and her staff because of their ages. 

Walker said that in such instances, her response is always to reassure them of their qualifications and capabilities through high-quality services and care.

“Once someone is unsure about what you are doing, what they start to do is ask questions. We provide answers that are in the best interest of the client, and when we do get the opportunity to impact the life of even a small child, we do it to the best of our ability so that [they] can remember that we did this as young professionals and we can do so much more for others,” she said.

Walker encouraged other young entrepreneurs with similar experiences to focus on quality assurance. 

“You know that you are young, and people will already start judging you [based on that]. So what you need to do is make sure that your quality of work speaks for itself,” she underscored.

Walker said she is hopeful that Jamaica will become “one of the top medical tourism destinations in the Caribbean.”

“We know that we don’t have enough infrastructure and resources. [But] we can use what we have to impact the lives that we can, one family at a time, [by] building on our customer service,” she contended.

Walker added that Jamaica’s healthcare sector has several opportunities and is welcoming more young people.

“We here, as other healthcare professionals [in Jamaica], are waiting for you. We want you here! Put in the hard work, focus on the aspect of healthcare you wish to pursue [and] do exactly what you need to do to get where you need to be,” she encouraged. 

For her part, Susan Escoffery, a practical nurse who has worked with the organisation since its inception, told JIS News that she is grateful for the opportunity it has provided for her and several other colleagues alike. 

“It makes me feel like a new and better person to know that we are actually taking care of people who really need our care. Many nurses are going away… so who is going to stay and take care of our people? We are Jamaicans, and we have to take care of our people,” she maintained.

Escoffery also encouraged young people to create opportunities that will motivate others and help to further develop Jamaica.

“When a young person sees other young persons in their community doing something that uplifts our country, it will motivate [them] to want to do the same,” she contended.

Meanwhile, Walker said she remains motivated to continue building her business to positively impact lives across Jamaica.