Our Nurse of the Week is Bill Smith, a former US Navy welder who pursued a career in nursing following his return from the military and found his calling in the cardiac-cath lab. A veteran for 25 years, Smith used the GI Bill to help him return to school and become a nurse, a field that piqued his interested over two decades ago. Now he works as a shift supervisor and team player in the cardiac-cath lab at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, AL.
Smith started out his nursing career as a student at Troy State (now Troy University). Following his graduation, he took his first job on a heart floor where he found his passion for cardiac nursing. He has since worked at hospitals all over the state and country, but he prefers his home at Jackson.
As a shift supervisor in the cardiac-cath lab, Smith works with patients who have a cardiac component like chest pains, shortness of breath, or excess fatigue. Smith tells the MontgomeryAdvertiser.com, “We can take a heart attack and stop it midstream. It’s very gratifying to put a heart attack out right in front of you. It’s very gratifying work that we do in the cath lab.”
While returning to civilian life, Smith says the hardest part of his adjustment in leaving the military was going back to school. It was hard work and he found it intimidating at first, but he adjusted quickly and found that he had a talent for it. Smith isn’t big on individual attention, but his hard work has earned attention anyway. He was a recent recipient of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses and one of the first recipients at Jackson Hospital to receive the award. Discussing his career in nursing, Smith says:
“I’ve learned a lot about myself in that I have more patience than I thought I did, or compassion, toward my fellow man. I did not know before I got into nursing that I could do this role, that I could be as compassionate or patient with mankind, with other people, as I’ve developed over time.”
We want to thank our Nurse of the Week, Bill Smith, for his service over the years in both the Navy and as a dedicated nurse. To learn more about Smith’s experience as a cardiac-cath lab nurse, visit here.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing has been partnering with community agencies to serve the health care needs of underserved populations across the state for many years. In 2013, the UAB School of Nursing Foundry Clinic was created at The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center in Bessemer, AL. They have also partnered with Cooper Green Mercy Health Services and Aletheia House to provide substance abuse treatment and HIV prevention education to low-income neighborhoods.
Now UAB Nursing is expanding their partnerships to include the Bessemer Neighborhood Health Center as a New Access Point Federally Qualified Health Center by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The funding is to help improve the health of underserved communities across the country by increasing access to quality primary health care services. HRSA awards the two-year, $1.4 million grant to 75 institutions, and UAB’s grant was one of only four awarded in Alabama.
UAB strives to provide a full range of primary care to patients at both of its partnership clinics. Patients are able to receive blood pressure management services, diabetes management, treatment of acute illnesses, access to lab facilities, and help having prescriptions filled. Providing these services in their nurse-managed clinics allows underserved communities to receive competent care, increasing the likelihood that these patients will seek the care they need.
To learn more about UAB’s partnership clinics, visit here.
Kristen Noles, a nurse manager at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital, was breastfeeding her youngest child five years ago when she found a hardened area in her breast. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Noles embarked on a journey of aggressive cancer treatment. Now 40, and the mom of three kids aged 7, 11, and 15, Noles is using her personal battle with cancer to help other patients.
Noles’ mother, Madeline Harris, is an oncology nurse and the director of Birmingham’s Women’s Breast Health Fund which provides supportive care services for women with breast cancer. Her experience as an oncology nurse helped Noles immensely through her treatments, bringing the pair closer and making them determined to work together to make cancer patients’ lives fulfilling.
With no breast cancer risk factors or family history of the disease, Noles’ diagnosis was shocking to her, but she was determined to fight her cancer and embrace every moment of her life going forward. Despite her aggressive treatment approach, it was important for Noles to keep working. She would return to work as quickly as possible following her chemotherapy treatments and she finished her graduate studies during treatment despite a number of surgical and chemo complications.
Wanting to make her journey with battling cancer about other patients who she could positively impact, Harris told Parade.com, “We started thinking, How can we use this to further our understanding of what it’s like to be the family member of a patient.” Noles recalls how she would think of her patients on her toughest days, especially after she received some unsupportive reactions from coworkers and fellow healthcare providers after her hair fell out.
Now five years after her diagnosis, Noles hopes to share her experiences with other patients and use her experiences, both good and bad, in her approach to teaching as an adjunct faculty member at the UAB School of Nursing. In 2013, she became a co-founder of the Courage Network, a breast cancer survivor group made up of UAB staff who provide support to fellow employees facing their own cancer journeys. She wants all UAB employees to know they have a support system during hardships. Noles’ cancer experience also inspired her mother who has since awarded more than $1.3 million to area nonprofits to provide services for breast cancer survivors and their loved ones in her position as director of the Women’s Breast Health Fund.
We want to thank our Nurse of the Week, Kristen Noles, and her mother Madeline Harris, for their inspiring works as nurses to positively influence other healthcare providers and cancer patients in their own community and beyond.
Have you heard about the nurse who clocked out at 6:37PM, signed into a hospital at 7:10PM, and gave birth at 7:28PM. No? Then you don’t know charge nurse, Ashley Chambers. Last week, Chambers worked through her shift at Children’s of Alabama’s Intensive Care Unit before driving over half an hour to give birth to her child.
When Chambers went into labor during her normal shift she chose not to go to the hospital right away because she had other children to tend to – her patients. Focusing on how to make her young patients’ pain go away helped her work through her own labor pains. She had planned to work up until she went into labor, but had no plans of cutting it that close to giving birth. When another charge nurse arrived to take over her shift, she clocked out and was holding her newborn son Riggs Owen in her arms an hour later.
Chambers recalls moments on her drive to the hospital where she thought she might give birth in her car on the highway. However, she finally made it to the hospital and gave birth less than 20 minutes later. Her husband was the only one lucky enough to witness their son’s birth, and only via FaceTime because she gave birth so quickly after arriving at the hospital.
We’ve chosen to honor Ashley Chambers as our Nurse of the Week for her dedication to her job as a nurse. Congratulations to you and your new family.