Nurse of the Week: Bethany Baker Becomes First Deaf Nursing Student to Be Admitted to UNF Nursing

Nurse of the Week: Bethany Baker Becomes First Deaf Nursing Student to Be Admitted to UNF Nursing

Our Nurse of the Week is Bethany Baker, the first deaf nursing student to be admitted to the University of North Florida’s (UNF) School of Nursing. Baker comes from a family of nurses, and although every person on her mom’s side of the family is deaf in one ear, she was the first in her family to be born fully deaf. Her deafness kept her from imagining a career in nursing for herself, but at 27 years old, she is working toward a post-baccalaureate degree in nursing and she hopes to pave the way for others to follow in her footsteps.

Baker’s parents discovered she couldn’t hear when she was 6 months old. She graduated from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in 2009 and attended Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, to pursue a degree in history. After graduating, she moved to Tennessee where she started caring for a 96-year-old deaf woman, called Mama Ray, which inspired her to pursue a career in the medical field.

While working for Mama Ray, Baker took a certified nursing assistant class and worked in an emergency room for six months. After Mama Ray died in 2016 at almost 100 years old, Baker moved back to Florida to enroll in a nursing program. Baker has one year left in the program and then she hopes to become a labor and delivery nurses or operating room nurse. She also wants to work with more deaf patients in Florida and advocate for deaf people who want to pursue any profession.

Baker is currently completing her clinical rounds at Flagler Hospital where she has two interpreters with her at all times, provided by the UNF Disability Resource Center. Her time as a nursing assistant in Tennessee and as a student doing clinical rounds has led her to become an advocate for deaf patients. One man in particular affected her deeply. At the hospital in Tennessee, Baker met with a patient who was going to have open heart surgery but had no interpreter. He had no information on the surgery he was going to have or the pre- and post-operation processes. She doesn’t want to see other patients with disabilities going through the healthcare system completely in the dark.

Baker’s nursing experience has also taught her how to communicate with patients in different ways. She carries a pager for nurses to contact her and uses a tablet to access a remote sign language interpreter to talk to patients when an interpreter isn’t available in-person. She also convinced the hospital she worked at in Tennessee to hire her interpreter who now remains on staff working with deaf, blind, deaf and blind, and other handicapped patients.

Baker tells houstonchronicle.com, “For deaf people, I’m hoping to start this process and experiences and do great, and then I can really open some doors permanently for some other deaf people to get their foot in the medical door. I’m really happy that the program took a risk on me. I feel more empowered to do a good job. I know that I can do it, and I want to show them that I can do it as well.”

To learn more about Bethany Baker, the first deaf nursing student to be admitted to the University of North Florida’s (UNF) School of Nursing, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Linda Davis Retires from 35-Year Career as a Cardiac Registered Nurse

Nurse of the Week: Linda Davis Retires from 35-Year Career as a Cardiac Registered Nurse

Our Nurse of the Week is Linda Davis, 57, who recently retired from her 35-year career as a registered nurse in a cardiac rehab program. Over the course of her career, Davis touched a lot of hearts, sometimes literally. She spent 25 of her 35 years as a registered nurse in the cardiac rehab program of Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, MD. She also spent many of those years running the program.

Davis had been thinking about retiring for some time, and realized on June 27 this year that it was the 25 year anniversary of when she began working at Washington Adventist Hospital. She took it as a sign that it was time to retire.

Davis tells washingtonpost.com, “I’ve had people ask me, ‘Isn’t it boring to do the same job for so long?’ I always say no, because it’s something I believe in.”

Davis’s career working for a cardiac rehab program was inspired by her first job as a nurse at Washington Hospital Center where she dealt with a variety of patients. After a few years on the job, telemetry was introduced to the hospital, which gives healthcare professionals the ability to monitor a patient’s vital signs remotely.

Telemetry introduced Davis to the intricacies of the heart, and she found the jagged lines of its rhythms sketched on paper and computer screens fascinating. In 1994, she decided to join the cardiac rehab program at Washington Adventist to work with patients as they recovered from their heart attacks. Now her job involves working with patients who are recovering from a heart attack by leading them through gentle exercise and counseling them on diet and relaxation.

To learn more about Linda Davis, who recently retired from her 35-year career as a registered nurse in a cardiac rehab program, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: University of Arkansas Nursing Graduate Wendy Hart Helps Support Heart Failure Patients

Nurse of the Week: University of Arkansas Nursing Graduate Wendy Hart Helps Support Heart Failure Patients

Our Nurse of the Week is Wendy Hart, a recent Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduate in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas (U of A), who used a $500 grant to purchase equipment for patients with heart failure issues.

Hart received the grant money as part of her final doctoral project where she worked with a dozen local patients at Northwest Medical Center’s Heart Care center in Springdale, AR. The equipment Hart purchased for her study included weight scales and blood pressure cuffs for each of the patients who participated.

Hart has been a registered nurse at Northwest Medical Center for 13 years, with a primary focus on cardiovascular disease. She’s currently an emergency department registered nurse. Hart continued to work while earning her DNP at U of A and graduated with her fellow College of Education and Health Professions students on May 11.

Her final DNP project focused on implementing a quality improvement project in the healthcare field of her choice. She worked with Dr. Michael Green at Northwest Medical Center. 

Hart tells news.uark.edu, “I have always been passionate about patients in the heart failure population. The goal of this project was to improve self-care management and decrease unnecessary hospital readmissions. Heart failure patients require a lot of management and continuous communication with a provider to assure that they are maintaining their baseline well-being.”

The main objectives for maintaining overall well-being include daily weight, fluid and salt management, and early recognition of worsening symptoms. Hart recognized that access to the right equipment was a major barrier for her participants and she wanted to assure that each patient was given the best chance for success. She reached out to the American Heart Association local branch to see if they would assist her, which led to the grant that allowed her to purchase 12 bathroom scales and 10 blood pressure cuffs.

To learn more about Wendy Hart, a recent DNP graduate from the University of Arkansas, who used a $500 grant to purchase equipment for patients with heart failure issues, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Emergency Room Nurse Roseanna Fulton Demonstrates Importance of Community Through Donating Blood

Nurse of the Week: Emergency Room Nurse Roseanna Fulton Demonstrates Importance of Community Through Donating Blood

Our Nurse of the Week is Roseanna Fulton, an emergency room nurse at Ascension Seton Hays in Hays County, Texas, who has demonstrated the importance of community through giving blood.

When Fulton started nursing school, she thought she would eventually work in a labor and delivery department, but later found that she loved the emergency department due to its fast pace and the way it allowed her to help the community. She graduated nursing school in 2017.

Since becoming a nurse, Fulton has become a regular blood and platelet donor. Platelets are a type of blood cell that allow the body to form clots to help control bleeding. According to the Central Texas blood bank We Are Blood, burn victims, premature babies, organ transplant recipients, trauma victims, and cancer patients are the primary demographics in need of platelet transfusions. 

Fulton tells communityimpact.com, “I decided to become a regular donor because I feel like doing community work is really important. Working in the emergency department, I actually see the products that are donated being given to patients. I can see the immediate benefits of donating.”

Blood banks are in need of a steady supply of donations, especially platelets, because platelets have a shelf life of just five days and cannot be stockpiled the way that blood donations can. Platelet donations take between 70 minutes and two hours, as opposed to 45-60 minutes for regular blood donations. Only 47% of the US population is eligible to donate based on their blood type. 

For Fulton, multi-tasking by reading guilt-free during a blood donation satisfies her desire to relax while also helping people in her community in her time off. She calls it a win-win!

To learn more about Roseanna Fulton, an emergency room nurse in Texas who has demonstrated the importance of community through giving blood, visit here

Nurse of the Week: UAB Nursing Professor Maria Shirey, PhD, Named AONE Nurse Researcher of the Year

Nurse of the Week: UAB Nursing Professor Maria Shirey, PhD, Named AONE Nurse Researcher of the Year

Our Nurse of the Week is Maria Shirey, PhD, a professor and associate dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing who was recently named the American Organization of Nurse Executives Foundation (AONE) Nurse Researcher of the Year. The award recognizes her outstanding contributions to nursing and health systems research.

Shirey has been recognized internationally for her research in nursing leadership and management. Her research has addressed multiple AONE priorities, including developing core competencies of nurse leaders across the care continuum to support current and emerging roles; supporting the design and implementation of care delivery and health management models; and supporting the provision of safe, quality care and delivery systems grounded in healthful practice.

Shirey tells uab.edu, “My research has identified the systems and support structures nurse managers need in order to be successful in their roles. Nurse managers are crucial because they lead from the middle. They’re the voice that really articulates the mission and vision of an organization in ways that benefit the patients and families we serve.”

Shirey’s role as a professor and associate dean in the UAB School of Nursing has had tremendous impacts on the program. Her work as a principal investigator on a four-year, $2.8 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant project to develop a resilient primary care registered nurse workforce has helped develop a new generation of RNs who will work in medically underserved areas and work toward chronic disease prevention and control. She has also been instrumental in opening a nurse-managed, interprofessional transitional care clinic for heart failure patients.

According to uab.edu, Shirey’s response to receiving the AONE Nurse Researcher of the Year award was, “For me, receiving the AONE nurse researcher award is an incredible honor. It’s recognition of the value and impact of my work over a long and productive career. This is an award for which I was nominated by colleagues in my field, and that makes it even more special.”

To learn more about Maria Shirey, PhD, a professor and associate dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships at the UAB School of Nursing who was recently named the AONE Nurse Researcher of the Year, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Nurse Fabiola Molero Hitchhikes to Help Venezuelan Girl Suffering From Severe Malnutrition

Nurse of the Week: Nurse Fabiola Molero Hitchhikes to Help Venezuelan Girl Suffering From Severe Malnutrition

Our Nurse of the Week is Fabiola Molero, a nurse with a Roman Catholic aid group called Caritas, who saw a viral photo of a young malnourished girl and decided to hitchhike to deliver aid. Molero immediately packed a bag with a scale and a 15-day supply of nutritional supplements, milk, and food, and hitchhiked from the western city of Maracaibo to Toas Island where the young girl from the photo lives. 

The image of the young Venezuelan girl began to circulate at the end of May and drew some strong reactions. It’s a photo of a 2-year-old girl plagued by malnutrition and untreated illness lying on her back in a dilapidated room. 

Molero tells The New York Times that she quit her job working in a hospital because she couldn’t handle children dying in her arms from a lack of food. She set off with a goal of helping Anailin, the young girl from the photo, and to assess the condition of other children in Anailin’s community. 

The children in Anailin’s community suffer from severe malnutrition in addition to genetic neurological disease which can cause convulsions, muscular problems, and make digestion more difficult. A lack of medicine makes their conditions even worse. Children in that condition can be treated at home until they’re strong enough to travel to a doctor. Molero’s arrival with food made an immediate difference. 

Out of 26 children that Molero was able to evacuate from the area, 10 were malnourished. Almost all suffered from blisters and abscesses caused by poor water quality. Molero is working with other volunteers to plan a medical visit to deliver nutritional supplements and evaluate another 40 children. 

To learn more about Fabiola Molero, a nurse who hitchhiked through Venezuela to deliver aid to an area where children suffer from severe malnutrition, visit here

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