HSA mentorship inspires Caymanian doctors to return after study abroad
Upon completion of their medical school training overseas, Emergency Medicine Consultant Dr Brandon Bernard and Dentist Dr Thammy Powery returned to the Health Services Authority (HSA) to work alongside their mentors who encouraged them to pursue their dreams.
Dr. Powery began her career journey at the HSA in 2010 when she took a hiatus from dental school in Panama to work at HSA’s physiotherapy department as a registration and collections officer. In 2012 she completed her dental surgical assistant diploma and moved to the dental department.
After deciding to complete her dental degree she gained acceptance to the School of Oral Health Sciences at University of Technology, Jamaica. She completed her studies in 2022 becoming a doctor in medical dentistry and began her profession as a dentist at the HSA. “I chose the field of dentistry because I enjoy helping others and the artistic side of the profession,” said Dr. Powery.
She noted that she was also fortunate to have had numerous mentors in the dental department who encouraged her from high school work experience to her voluntary work at the dental lab during her free time.
“Doctors such as Dr Naude Dreyer, Dr Lyle Bridgeman, Dr Michael Leon and others have played a significant role in my professional journey,” said Dr Powery. “I consulted them while in school and still look to them for guidance. I am very much appreciative of their support and hope to provide similar support to other aspiring Caymanian dentists.”
To those interested in a career in dentistry Dr Powery advised, “Never give up! Be persistent. It doesn’t matter how many times life throws curve balls at you, if you are determined and focused on your goals you can achieve them.”
Studying did not come easy for the mother of two who had to spend time away from her children to pursue her chosen career path. “I had many trials over the years. I had to sacrifice a lot including time with my kids which made the life-changing decision more difficult but thankfully I had a strong support system at home and here with my HSA family.”
Dr Powery plans on specialising in Orthodontics but enjoys building on her experience as a general dentist.
Dr Bernard is also no stranger to HSA having been the first Caymanian intern to complete the medical internship programme at HSA from 2013-2014. After completing his first degree in medicine he worked as a doctor at the HSA from 2015-2017. In 2021, he completed his emergency medicine residency and Doctor of Medicine degree in emergency medicine in Jamaica.
He then returned home to rejoin the HSA as the second Caymanian emergency medicine consultant physician. The first was HSA’s Accident and Emergency Head of Department, Dr Elizabeth McLaughlin.
“I picked emergency medicine for several reasons,” said Dr. Bernard. I am exposed to a significant variety of cases and as an emergency physician, I have access to all the available hospital resources to help me diagnose and manage my patients. I also enjoy the various procedures that I can do from airway management to minor surgical procedures. It’s such a rewarding feeling to be able to witness patients who are critically ill or severely injured improve immediately in the emergency room as a direct result of the treatment we provide.”
Dr Bernard attributed part of his success in completing postgraduate training to his three mentors, HSA’s Medical Director Dr Delroy Jefferson and Caymanian physicians Dr Steve Tomlinson and Dr Sidney Ebanks who all provided the encouragement he needed.
“Now I encourage young Caymanians to work hard to achieve excellence in anything they do. They should never feel inferior to persons from larger countries,” declared Dr Bernard. “We should never limit ourselves or our aspirations and dreams because we come from a small island. We are just as talented as anyone else.”
Issued by: Health Services Authority (HSA)