There is a Haitian proverb that says: Ayisyen ki pou fè Ayiti, or “It is Haitians who must make Haiti.” For Director of Nursing at Grace Children’s Hospital (GCH), Jocelyne Arnoux, this proverb couldn’t be more true.
Jocelyne grew up in Haiti and attended the Haiti National School of Nursing. As a graduate, she moved to Geneva, Switzerland where she completed a master’s degree in community health and worked in the healthcare industry for 20 years. Despite being far away, Haiti never ceased being Jocelyne's home. She always knew she would one day return.
“I felt a strong urge to go back and help provide healthcare for the Haitians,”she says. “I knew in my heart it was the right decision. It is gratifying to be a part of seeing children and their families get the treatment they need for their illnesses, and to receive health education to prevent illness.”
As Director of Nursing for nearly 15 years, Jocelyne oversees the healthcare providers who serve children and their families. “I mentor the staff with their daily assignments and provide information to increase their skills,” says Jocelyne.
Part of her position has been developing and implementing health education programs for staff, children and their families. In a country where 80% of people live in abject poverty and do not have access to clean drinking water and satisfactory sanitation facilities, education is crucial to disease prevention and treatment. Jocelyne also directs and mentors students from five nursing schools, as well as students from other disciplines who are preparing to complete a clinical experience at GCH.
In addition to being a director, educator and role model, Jocelyne also juggles the role of bookkeeper. She completes daily, weekly, monthly and yearly reports, which provide necessary documentation for financial aid to help fund and expand the hospital’s services.
Her greatest satisfaction, however, comes from “watching a child being discharged after treatment and seeing the smiles of the child and the family.”
Jocelyne sees a bright future for GCH. She predicts the hospital will continue to grow and expand healthcare services for children and their families in the Lower Delmas area of Port-au-Prince. This includes reaching out to children and their families in areas where there are no healthcare services, while continuing evidenced-based practice of healthcare and increasing the value of services.
“Our future also lies in providing a much needed simulation laboratory where we can teach and test healthcare providers and students on their skills,” she says. “Ultimately all of this is about making sure no child in need of health is left behind.”
When the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, Jocelyne, GCH and ICC Haiti made sure that no child in need of health was left behind. GCH immediately responded to the expanded needs of the Haitians despite the severe damage done to GCH facilities. Even in the aftermath of the earthquake, hospital operations were only halted for a few days, and care for the children staying at the hospital never ceased. The hospital has rebuilt transitional facilities that meet the needs of more than 350 patients daily.
Jocelyne personally thanks everyone who is a part of the rebuilding process.
“The plan for the rebuilding of GCH brings excitement to me, the staff, the community and the visitors," she says.