Retiring after 30+ years of service – Tarramattie Barker leaves the health sector
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, May 8, 2018
As Guyana observes International Nurses’ week, one of the stalwarts in the nursing profession is preparing to call it a day after some three decades of dedicated service.
Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of the Ministry of Public Health, Tarramattie Persaud-Barker has given 31 years of service to the nursing profession and has blazed the trail in a number of areas within the health sector. She is due to retire on July 1, 2018.
Barker, who is on pre-retirement leave, serves as the Chairperson of the Guyana Nursing Council and as Commissioner of the National Commission for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
According to her professional profile, Tarramattie Persaud-Barker commenced her professional nursing career at the Georgetown School of Nursing on September 17, 1984. She graduated in 1987 as a Registered Nurse and was then employed by the Ministry of Health, working at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
She later pursued a post-graduate training in Mental Health and in Midwifery. Thereafter, she was recognised as a trained Registered Nurse/Midwife. Barker gained her first out-of-the-city work experience in Santa (Aratack) Mission, in September 1991.
“It was indeed a new experience for me, to be working in a community with limited access to communication, electricity, running water through taps, and transportation…within two years there were solar electricity for lights and a solar refrigerator to store vaccines. The refrigerator was donated and set up by a Dutch company, through the years of collaboration with the community,” Nurse Barker explained.
The Registered Nurse remained in the Indigenous community until 1998. Barker said her experience working in the Santa Mission has caused her to develop a passion for addressing public health issues in these remote areas.
“Interfacing regularly with tourists to the village, some who seek care at the health facility, gave me the urge and passion to pursue the Public Health Nursing programme, so on the 28th September 1998, I commenced the Public health Nurses training at the University of Guyana.”
After becoming a Public Health Nurse, Tarramattie Barker worked in various levels of the healthcare system, continuing to give service in the coastal, riverine and remote hinterland regions.
In 2004, seeking to further enhance her knowledge, she enrolled once again at the University of Guyana to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. She opted to pursue Nursing Management.
After graduation, Barker continued to serve the population in the Level II Primary Healthcare facilities in the hinterland region serving in supervisory and managerial areas.
In 2009, Barker responded to a request made by senior officials to occupy the vacant Deputy Chief Nursing Officer position. During her time as D-CNO and eventually CNO, Barker was involved in nurse education, coordinating health programmes and medical outreaches and also volunteering in many health-related fronts.
The retiring Chief Nursing Officer, who is also a certified Massage Therapist, is also the Chairperson of the Guyana Nursing Association.
By: Delicia Haynes.