Tribute to Sister Cornis Edwards Sprott
“When I am gone, release me, and let me go. I have so many things to see and do, Don’t tie yourself to me with too many tears, But be thankful we had so many good years.”
I can picture our dear Sister Cornis Sprott saying this quote, because she was definitely not the type of person who would stay quiet or keep still, even as she has gotten old, she was always busy doing something or busy finding something to do! Sister wasn’t the teary eyed type; she was a go-getter, oh yes! I continue to imagine her saying “don’t tie yourself to me with too many tears, let’s be grateful for the good years, do you know that I am 92 years?”
Yes my brethren, Sister Cornis Sprott has finished her stint here on earth, she has lived her life to the fullest, give of her best; her life was blessed and it’s time to move onto the other level, a life that is filled with expectancy and promise, the Everlasting life that is outlined in Christian eschatology.
And today we, the members of The Retired Nurses of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVGRNA) are here to celebrate her work and life with you in rendering this tribute! She died on 10th March, after suffering from a short illness.
We extend our sincere condolences to the Sprott’s family, her three sons and her adopted daughter and their families.
Sister Cornis Edwards Sprott was trained as a Nurse in her homeland, St. Vincent, she entered the Nursing profession at 18 years of age in November 1945, when she was trained for 3 years at the then Colonial Hospital, which had its name changed to Kingstown General Hospital and presently to The Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. During those times, lectures were done by the Matron of the hospital and Doctors at the Operating Theatre, as there was no nursing school. After her training she travelled abroad to the Dutch Island of Curacao and returned home in 1959 with her family and began working at the Kingstown General Hospital in 1961. She was reinstated as a Staff Nurse.
She was placed in charge of Private Ward A; then the maternity Ward. When there was an insufficient amount of supervisors, Staff Nurse Sprott had no problem readjusting in the workplace as a manager under the directorship of Ann Jacobs Williams the then Matron. Sister Sprott was promoted to Ward Sister, then Departmental Sister and later attained the status as Senior Nursing Officer of the hospital; she also had the opportunity to act as Matron.
She retired in 1982 at the age of 55 years; her successor was Sister Avis Maclean, who is presently abroad. Other stalwarts in nursing who she worked with in the management of the Hospital were Sisters Ena Morris, Joyce Frank, Pauline Charles, Yvonne Hagley, Elma Dougan and Mavis Maule who have predeceased her and others who are with us today. Sis Sprott also worked at the Thompson Home for the elderly from 1994 to 1998 during her retirement.
Sister Sprott worked in an era when almost everything was done from scratch; working conditions were challenging due to the insufficiency of medical supplies; Sister knew the true value of the profession and collaborated with other health personnel to ensure that the system was effective. Some medical instruments were prepared on the ward; washing and packaging of gloves and sets, folding and packaging of gauze etc. Sterilization was done in the Operating Theatre. Today most sets are prepackaged and ready for use and there is a sterilizing unit, which was set up by Sister Pauline Charles.
Sister Sprott was one of the pillars of Nursing, she was a disciplinarian who adhered to the principles and rules and wanted nurses to do their best; rather than sitting in an office, she would visit the ward areas to ensure that the roster was organized, supplies were adequate, the nurses were cared for, she even enquired about their families. She was like a peace maker, pleasant, kind, considerate and liked to share. She was always properly attired and encouraged nurses to have a positive attitude; and would also rebuke her subordinates with a smile.
I first met Sister Sprott in 1979 when I started my training in Nursing, but it was after my retirement and being a member of the SVGRNA that I became closer to her as we visited her; she remained a caring, giving person, always looking for something to give, an ornament or anything she could put her hand to; I remembered on one occasion her legs were pretty swollen, she still made the effort to go to her kitchen, which was situated in her downstairs to prepare snacks for us, of course we didn’t allow it. She was a great talker and she loved to pray. She was loved and was visited by lots of people; she would refer to the nurses as “my girls”. As her memory kept slipping she would act sometimes as if she was on duty at the hospital, showing you around in the Thompson Home where she was a resident.
We would always have fond memories of her. She was a jovial person always smiling and saying something to make one smile.
Sister Sprott, we love you. May Your Soul Rest in Peace!
Last but in no way least, I will leave with us Psalm 139: 23 – 24. “Search me, O God and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.
We are living in a time where we need Jesus more than ever, with everything that is presently taking place; Let us humbly beseech and ask our Lord and Saviour to lead us to his everlasting life today, some of us may not live to reach the ripe old age; so let us not put off for another day, which maybe too late.
Thank You (Contributed by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Retired Nurses Association)