Much Loved Matron Retires

Monday, 30 November 2009

Jacqueline Jaidy By Ann Zawahreh

Matron and Director of Nursing, Mrs. Jacqueline Jaidy took her leave as a staff member of the St. John family with her retiral at the end of September. Here her long-time colleague pays tribute to an esteemed friend.

By the time Jackie arrived at St. John’s in November 1971, I had already got used to the lavish lifestyle of the Nursing Sisters at that time. I think Jackie was as surprised as I was on her arrival: There were two full-time maids who attended to all our needs. In the morning, we would be woken with a cup of tea and for supper in the evening, one was expected to dress appropriately – no jeans!

When new sisters arrived, There was usually an orientation programme but Jackie was lucky as the Matron of the day felt that due to her previous experience she should immediately be placed in charge of the clinic. There were no bookings or waiting lists in those days, and during Jackie’s tenure in charge of the Hospital Clinic.

We both met our husbands at St. John’s. I was already married with our son Yousef, and Jackie and Khalil married in 1975 with my husband Issa as Best Man. After a brief respite in the UK, Jackie returned to St John’s in 1981. By 1995 the post of Matron had became vacant and Jackie felt she was ready for a challenge. She was successful in her application and became our Matron on January 1st, 1996. Over the years Jackie has given her full support to the Nursing Staff. She will be remembered for the introduction of the NSONC teaching programme, which trains registered Nurses in advanced ophthalmic care. Many now have positions in Clinics and Hospitals across the Palestinian Lands and three now lead nursing services at our satellite clinics in Gaza, Hebron and Anabta.

There is so much I could write, but we must mention that Jackie is a veteran of three wars. During the 1973 war Jackie was the most senior sister at the Hospital as the Matron and Assistant Matron of the time were away in Cyprus. During the Iraq War in 1990, Jackie would drive from her home in Beit Jala and take her turn staying overnight doing ward duties. Jackie was also there to support us all during the second Iraq War.

Now, with her two sons and daughter married, Jackie is retiring. Her second son Tariq, with wife Helen and three sons, has come back to live in Beit Jala, so Jackie is retiring at just the right time. We wish her every happiness in her retirement years.

Ann Zawahreh.

"Celia and I send our very best wishes to Jackie on the occasion of her retirement. She will be missed very much by us all. The contribution she has made to the Hospital cannot be over estimated. On many occasions she has led the staff through very difficult times and has been an exemplary ambassador for the Hospital in Jerusalem and abroad. We are delighted that she will now have the opportunity to spend more time with her family but we are confident that we will not lose touch. A lady of the most extraordinary talents."

Sam Vestey