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HISTORICAL NURSING

FIGURE

SUZANNE COOREVITS

Student: Rebekah r. Roberts

Lecturer; B. FONTAINE

COURSE: EVOLUTION OF NURSING

FACULTY: HEALTH SCIENCES

DATE: 01. 02. 2011


CONTENTS

Topic Page

Introduction 3

Body of document 4

Reference 7
INTRODUCTION

Sister Suzanne Coorevits was a Belgian nun and nurse who migrated to Dominica. She was well

known in Dominica for her contribution to nursing and nursing education.

Receiving information on Sister Suzanne was a challenge and little information was received on

her personal life. According to, Nurse Theodora Frederick, she stated that they met after years of

her departure from Dominica in Jamaica at a convent where she had resided at the moment.

According to information given, she died in Belgium, her home country, on January 27th 1997.
NURSING HISTORICAL FIGURE
SUZANNE COOREVITS

Suzanne Coorevits was a Belgian nun and nurse who came to work in Dominica in April 1957.

She is remembered for having been the first principal tutor of the Princess Margaret Hospital

School of Nursing from 1962 to 1975, under the system of apprenticeship. She was a strict,

respected and yet loving woman. Sister Suzanne was previously known as Sister Marie Rudolphe

and was a nun of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (I.C.M.) congregation.

According to The Chronicle April4, 1997; from 1957 to 1960 she worked as Operating Theatre

Sister and part-time Clinical Tutor at the Princess Margaret Hospital. She was awarded a

scholarship for demonstrating teaching ability and left Dominica in 1960 to attend the Royal

College in England. This then led to her earning a tutor’s Diploma at The University of London.

On her return to Dominica in 1962 she was appointed tutor in charge of the Princess Margaret

Hospital Nursing School.

Nurse Theona Frederick, a retired registered nurse and midwife, a present employee of Dominica

Planned Parenthood and former student of Sister Suzanne, or Sister Tutor, as she was fondly

called, remembers her.

“Sister Suzanne was strict and demanded respect but was also a compassionate woman, a woman

whom persons could talk to. If you had any problem you could talk to her. It was sort of informal

counseling, and she did that for her students and other people.”
Mrs. Theona Frederick started as a student in the nursing school in 1962, the same year sister

Suzanne started the Principal tutor. She remembers Sister Suzanne as a loving woman who

loved, cared and had a deep interest in her students and their welfare. Nurse Frederick is

remembered as being one of her more favored students because of her level of respect and

obedience.

Sister Suzanne, was a strong advocate and promoter for the cause of nursing and nurses in

Dominica and she worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the standard of nursing care.

She took her duty as teacher seriously and was strict in its implementation. Her students

remember her level of effectiveness in the classroom and in the educational and personal

guidance of their lives. At the time she was the only theoretical advisor/lecturer and taught such

courses as Anatomy and Physiology and psychology. She initiated the help of other qualified

persons to teach other courses such as Nutrition. The departmental sisters taught the practical

aspects in the hospital setting and doctors did the medical tutoring.

Sister Suzanne in her teaching emphasized caring to her students, caring for the patients and the

public. She also emphasized a positive public image of nursing and how important it was for

nurses to be portrayed positively by the public and press. She also constantly reiterated that her

students as nurses needed to have good attitudes in order to be effective in their duties.

As the nursing was under apprenticeship students had to work while studying. Some had to even

start working the day class started. A student remembers having to work night shifts and then

leaving work in the morning and get ready to go to classes which started at 8:30. Sometimes the

time was not sufficient to do all that was necessary and sometimes students had to be satisfied

with just washing their faces and skipping breakfast till later.
Sister Suzanne tried at times, though, to instill some of her catholic and chaste principles into her

students. One remembers her saying, “don’t sit on the wall and talk to boys.”

She advised them on their clothing, relationships and lifestyles. Students remember her making

rounds at different times in the day to the Nursing Hostel from her then living quarters, the

Nursing House near the hospital to check up on her students. She did this to ensure they were

behaving themselves, being responsible and probably as a way to build discipline.

Sister Suzanne Coorevits was a member of the Dominica Nursing Council and the Dominica

Nurses Association. As a member of the Dominica Nursing Council she had the responsibility of

reporting on the progress, needs and all things affiliated with the nursing school where she was

the principal tutor. She was also a member of the Caribbean Nurses Association and the Regional

Nursing Body.

In June 1975, she was awarded the Medal of the British Empire for her dedicated service in the

field of nursing education.

To this day, and hopefully with the help of this document she will continue to be remembered for

the exceptional contribution she made to nursing education in Dominica for the thirteen years

she served as the first principal tutor. She worked resolutely through her time to organize the

Nursing school. She was a devoted and committed nurse and served as a strong model for all the

student nurses she trained and those who came after her time.
REFERENCES
 Dominica Nurses Association Fortieth Anniversary Magazine, Celebrating Our Past:

Moving Nursing Forward in Our Nation’s Development, Pg. 26, retrieved 04, 02, 2011.,

as taken from: The Chronicle Friday April 4,1997 Pg.10

 Personal Interview conducted 23,01,2011, 3:00 to 3:30,