Religion

Former nurse of the year says her book on death and dying is essential preparation for clergy, chaplains and lay persons involved in hospital ministry

Nurse Sandy J. Ferguson, former ICU Critical Care Registered Nurse (RN), has released her book, titled, “Death and Dying: The Last Mile of the Way”. It’s a book Ferguson said is a practical, educational and spiritual guide for assisting the elderly and terminally ill as they journey toward death.

Ferguson tackles a subject which most people try to avoid but, in reality, is unavoidable. She said many people will find comfort from her sound advice, in addition to helpful suggestions and essential education on death and dying.

“The subject of this book is of prime importance because all human beings will one day have to deal with the difficult experiences of death and dying,” said Ferguson.

“Like childbirth, death and the dying process are natural occurrences accompanied by identifiable stages and signs.”

Ferguson said she reveals all the signs and signals in her newly replaced book which will assist in replacing people’s fears, regrets and disappointments with knowledge, participation and wonderful memories.

The former nurse said she has filled her book with the wisdom that only comes from her years as a critical care nurse, caring for the sickest in the hospital and from well-honed instincts as a medical professional serving people beyond hospital walls in her capacity as a lay clergy person.

“Not many have been afforded the privilege to serve, care for and love so many of the sick, weak and helpless in different environments, as they traverse the last stages of their lives.”

Ferguson said despite the topic she has tackled in the book, it is far from morbid. She describes her book as inspirational, poignant and engaging.

“This book opens up a conversation on the reality of death and dying. It is essential preparation for clergy, chaplains, lay persons involved in hospital ministry and, frankly, everyone else, especially families with elderly members or terminally ill persons, whether at present or in the future. Optimally, one will be equipped to support and assist such persons in these once-in-a-lifetime moments,” said the author.

Ferguson said the reader will come away from her book having confronting their fears about death and dying, head-on, and become more comfortable in supporting and assisting people as they “journey” toward their death.

“For some, the insights gained from reading this book will help to bring closure to recent death and dying episodes and, for others, closure to death and dying episodes which are deeply rooted within their conscious and subconscious minds – those experienced in past years, as young adults, adolescents or children. This will make for emotional emancipation and for living richer and far more fulfilling lives.”

Ferguson, a native of Exuma, after completing high school, was awarded the Hilda Bowen Nursing Scholarship to pursue a career in nursing at the then-College Of The Bahamas (now University of The Bahamas) from which she obtained an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). She was licensed and certified by the Bahamas Nursing Council in 1990 as an RN.

She was employed at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) for a few years before she went on to enroll in the University of Alabama’s Birmingham School of Nursing from which she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and certification from the Alabama Board of Nursing as an RN.

Her work experience also included a stint at St. Vincent Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, before she returned home and was employed at Doctors Hospital.

She went on to pursue studies in critical care nursing, earning certification in adult critical care nursing and the designation CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse) from the American Association of Critical Nursing (AACN) Certification Corporation. No longer employed as a nurse, Ferguson utilizes her nursing gifts informally, outside hospital walls, and took time to pen her book.

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