Beacon of the day | Miss St. Thomas 2008 doubling up as nurse and teacher during COVID pandemic

In a parish where jobs are scarce, the multi-talented Janique Thomas-Wilson has three of them, thanks to her creativity and workaholic underpinnings.

She is a full-time registered nurse at Princess Margaret Hospital; she teaches at an evening institute in her native St. Thomas; and she recently founded an entity that offers mainly online classes.

The 34-year-old learnt job-juggling from an early age, having watched her father Selvin Thomas doubling up as a school principal and a police officer.

“My father gave me the idea that I can have another job,” Janique told The Beacon, adding: “In terms of how I do it, it is a matter of organizing my time.”

She also underscored the importance of education – the foundation on which her careers are built.

Janique holds a Master’s degree in Education and a Bachelor’s in Nursing, both from the University of the West Indies. She also attended Lyssons Primary School, Morant Bay High, and Wolmer’s (sixth form).

Regardless of one’s academic credentials, however, one’s creative thinking can create wonders especially in a parish such as St. Thomas, which is bedeviled by unemployment and poor infrastructure.

“Jobs are very scarce in St. Thomas, and most individuals venture into Kingston to seek work,” Janique said. “If persons create jobs for themselves, it would significantly improve the employment rate and improve the productivity of St. Thomas.”

Using her latest creation as an example, Janique explained that, while being employed as a front-line healthcare worker during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, she saw another big opportunity in the education sector.

She immediately capitalized on it – opening the Retreat Learning Centre, which is an online school created to help fill the gap arising from the closure of schools due to COVID-19.

Janique noted that, from the comfort of her home, she now does her third job – teaching nursing students and students who are preparing for CSEC exams.

“The response has been tremendous; I don’t have enough hands,” she told The Beacon.

Janique added that, due to the overwhelming response from people in Jamaica and overseas, she has tapped into the expertise of her parents – Earline Thomas and Selvin Thomas, who respectively holds a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degree in Education.

Janique’s recently created business already has undergone expansion, and is now offering lessons in more CSEC subjects. The subjects now being offered are: Social Studies, English A, Human and Social Biology, Mathematics, and Information Technology. The business also provides assistance with School-Based Assessments and syllabus reviews.

Janique stated that, despite having three jobs, she finds enough time to spend with her family – including her two-year-old son Nathan Wilson. The child’s grandparents also readily fill any slack.

“My husband is also very supportive,” said Janique, who has been married for almost a year to Paul Wilson, a Jamaica Defence Force soldier.

Janique is also passionate about volunteerism, especially in her community of Retreat.

“The members of the community know me. They know that they can call on me at any time if there is an emergency – which happens every now and then,” she said. “Retreat is like a safe haven. You still take precautions, but everybody knows everybody there.”

Janique, who was crowned Miss St. Thomas Festival Queen in 2008, also participates in various community-related projects. Over the years, she partly served through her membership in the Red Cross and Leo Club of St. Thomas.

She is a two-time parish winner of the Jamaica Library Service National Reading Competition, and a former Pulse model.

Janique also participated in the popular televised competition – Dancin’ Dynamite, and was part of the first dance group from St. Thomas to enter the contest.

She noted that, with self-motivation and knowledge, anyone can become an achiever. “You can achieve anything you put your mind to,” she further declared.


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