With 53 years in nursing, Sister Noshella Lalckecharan is Guyana’s longest-serving nurse
By Shane Marks
Coordinator of a Bachelor’s Degree Programme in Emergency Nursing, Sister Noshella Lalckecharan continues her reign as the longest-serving nurse of Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, surpassing fifty years of service.
This 76-year-old woman completed 53 years in the nursing profession on March 15, 2022.
“Sister Lalcky”, as she is popularly known among her colleagues, hails from Mahaica, East Coast Demerara (ECD). She is the daughter of Lalckecharan, who was a tailor and barber and Sookdiah who was a housewife who also tended to the family’s cash crop farm.
Her parents were continually supportive of her academic and professional accomplishments.
Sister Noshella originally attended the Canadian Missionary Primary (an Anglican school) and later moved on to the Hindu College at Cove and John, ECD, where she graduated in 1964. She was the only child amongst her parents’ five children who got the chance to attend school and gain an education.
Upon her completion of secondary school, nurse Lalckecharan applied to the Georgetown Public Hospital to do the Registered Nursing (RN) programme for a duration of three years.
Noshella told Guyana Times in an interview that whilst waiting for a call from the hospital, she secured a job as a teacher at the age of 16.
She didn’t remain in the profession for a lengthy time, since that was not the career path she had intended to pursue.
“At the age of sixteen plus, I was a teacher. I went and teach. But I didn’t like it, not that I didn’t like teaching, but I was more bent on nursing,” she said in an interview with Guyana Times.
Noshella’s love for nursing began when she was a little girl in primary school. She said that she would attend Red Cross classes where she learned how to bandage and perform other medical duties that were being taught at the time.
She said that it was this exposure that ignited her love for the nursing profession. Ironically, as a little girl, Noshella had a terrifying fear of blood – something that her father sometimes playfully teased her about. As she grew older and time went on, she grew apart from her blood phobia.
A few weeks before her twenty-first birthday, Sister Noshella received a letter informing her that she had been accepted into the nursing programme and was required to begin training on March 15, 1969. This moment of excitement is forever embedded into her memories, she said.
In September of the year 1972, at the end of the three years’ Registered Nursing (RN) programme, Lalckecharan wrote and passed her final exams.
She was originally placed in the Maternity Ward doing midwifery, then at the Outpatient Department. By July 1973, she was sent to the Operating Room, for which she developed a fondness.
In the early 1980s, she was deployed to work at the Suddie Public Hospital where she performed duties in the Male Surgical Ward for a year. There she was responsible for the operating theatre but she later returned to the Georgetown Public Hospital to take up similar duties.
The courage-filled nurse continued working in the operating theatres for several years after. By 1996, she was promoted to the position of Theatre Supervisor, keeping that designation until 2001.
Soon after, she was transferred to the Administrative Office to function as Assistant Director of Nursing which she occupied for a number of years. She also served as a part-time Clinical Supervisor on an Operating Room (OR) Technician programme that was being conducted at the GPHC in 2013.
From the year 2005 to 2007, Lalckecharan pursued studies at the University of Guyana, and at age 57, graduated with a Bachelor of Science Nursing degree. From being brought up in a home where she was the only one who attended high school, today, Sister Lalckecharan comes from a home where four out of five persons got the chance to attend university and graduate.
Nurse Noshella Lalckecharan is a true pioneer in her own right. In 2015 she was awarded the Medal of Service for her outstanding service to administer healthcare to the citizens of Guyana.
Noshella is a mother of two and a grandmother of four and currently has no intention of hanging up her scrubs anytime soon.