On light bulbs and miracles in nursing

From candy striper to nurse practitioner – today, we recognize a remarkable nurse who is making a difference in her patients’ lives.

Christal Adams, RN, BSN, is a graduate student in our adult nurse practitioner program, graduating this summer. She is one of eight African American health care professionals who have received the 2011 Excellence in Health Care award from the St. Louis American Foundation. The award honors exceptional African American health care providers serving our community. The awardees will be recognized at an awards luncheon at the Ritz Carlton on April 29.

I recently met with Christal and chatted with her about what it’s like being a nurse. Inspired by her mother who was a certified nurse assistant, Christal’s journey toward nursing began at the age of 14, when she became a candy striper (a hospital volunteer that assists nurses) at a St. Louis community hospital.

Today, she is a staff nurse on the general medicine floor at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. On that floor, she sees a little bit of everything – like patients with diabetes, hypertension, and cirrhosis, among many other conditions. She is energized by getting to know her patients and having the ability to help them have those “light bulb” moments as they understand their own health.

“Although there’s a lot of challenges that come along with being a nurse, the most rewarding thing is seeing people who may have been critically ill, and then the next thing you know they’re walking out the door and they’re doing well again,” she says. “On a daily basis, I see a miracle.”

I love meeting people who are passionate about their patients. Congratulations to Christal and we wish her the best as she approaches her goal of becoming an adult nurse practitioner!

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