THE THOMASIAN nurse who administered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine dose called students of the University “change makers” and “future leaders” and encouraged them to work hard and to stick to their values.
Filipino-British nurse May Parsons, who obtained her nursing degree from UST in 2000, said Thomasians should maintain integrity, honesty, compassion and dedication, values that she said shape their identity.
“We were told constantly that Thomasians are the cream of the crop, and have been proudly preceded by our countless Thomasian pioneers and fire-starters. We are future change-makers,” Parsons said at a press conference held in the UST Main Building on Monday, August 22.
“Keep your values tight and close to your heart. This is what sets you apart from the rest. Keep your values, because that is important,” she added.
Parsons was chosen to inject the world’s first COVID jab on a 90-year-old British patient in December 2020 after having held a three-year record of inoculating the most number of flu vaccines, with a personal best of 140 patients in a single day.
Last month, she represented the National Health Service (NHS) in the awarding of the George Cross medal, the highest civilian award given by the British government, at Windsor Castle. The award, which was presented by Queen Elizabeth II, recognized the NHS’s “acts of the greatest heroism or the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger.”
Parsons encouraged her fellow Thomasians to work hard and to extend help as much as they can.
“So just keep to it because it will be recognized, in the end, and you will succeed,” she said.
“We are the change makers and the leaders of the future. Take it, claim it.”
‘Endlessly indebted’ to UST
Parsons recognized UST’s contribution to her career, saying she is ‘endlessly indebted’ to the University for its constant guidance that made her who she is today.
“I cannot be more grateful for my time and experiences being taught and molded by our professors and our peers in College of Nursing, guided by the strong and indomitable Thomasian culture,” the nurse said.
“I wouldn’t be here, in front of you today, standing proud as a Thomasian nurse without that constant and consistent guidance UST has bestowed upon me during my tenure,” she added.
Parsons said the University “reaffirmed her personal values” and encouraged her to work with integrity in everything she does.
Parsons also urged the government to give healthcare workers the salary and other benefits they deserve.
“Kung gusto niyo silang mag-stay dito, be fair, di naman po kami nagahahnap ng paespesyal na trato. Ang kailangan lang po namin is fairness and equity (If you want them to stay here, be fair. We are not seeking special treatment. What we need is fairness and equity),” she said.
Parsons also cited the need to combat false information about pandemic jabs, noting that people tend to believe things that they hear from their neighbors or friends.
Parsons worked for the UST Hospital for three years before joining the NHS in the United Kingdom.
The press conference was attended by Office for Alumni Relations Director Asst. Prof. Fredswindo Medina; Office of Public Affairs Director Asst. Prod. Joreen T. Rocamora, PhD; UST College of Nursing Rev. Fr. Julius Paul Factora, O.P.; College of Nursing Dean Prof. Rowena Escolar Chua, PhD; UST Alumni Association President Dr. Evelyn Songco; and Nursing Alumni Association President Dr. Carl Balita. F – N. Bautista