Nurse Spotlight: Meet Brittany Beard, RN

Place of Employment: Baptist Hospital East

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I really enjoyed zoology growing up and wanted to do something within that field. As I grew older I discerned that my interests extended into biological sciences, particularly the study of epidemiology and various disease processes experienced in the human population.

Along with this new found interest I began to understand that I would enjoy a career that allowed me to help others in a very direct manner. I realized that nursing would be a perfect marriage of these interests and career desires.

Nursing is also a very stable career choice and allows for much personal growth and development. There are so many avenues for a nurse may pursue; if one particular area is not for you, there are so many various possibilities out there.

Is it different than what you thought?

It is definitely different than the perceptions I had while I was in nursing school. With my first introductions of nursing I feel like I was presented with different medical diagnoses and taught how to read labs and administer medications. But it wasn’t until I became a nurse on the floor that I was able to assess the situation as a whole and to understand the various physical, psychological and emotional needs of patients and to gain the ability to think critically in able to meet these needs, which allows me, deliver exceptional care to my patients.
What is the biggest misconception about your field?

Not everyone has an appreciation of the skills that nurses possess. Over the years the role of the nurse has changed in many ways, and I often feel there is a disconnect between the modern role of the nurse and what is expected from nurses compared to the times when a nurse was considered very much an assistant to the physician rather than an integral part of the healthcare team. There are so many team members that comprise the “healthcare team” and without all of these members (nurses, PCAs, physicians, secretaries, lab staff, radiography workers, therapists, etc.) healthcare could not be what it is today.
What is the one thing you wish patients knew and/or understood about nurses?

That we like when you ask questions. Self-advocacy and knowledge is crucial. One example is nurse to patient ratio; the nurse to patient ratio has a huge impact on the patient care that is provided. This varies from hospital-to-hospital so when choosing to have an elective procedure it is important to do some background research into what that hospital averages. Along with this, other information is available about infection risks and other quality data that is measured and provided on a comparative analysis web site.

It is very important to have this background knowledge, and it is imperative that patients and families ask questions because no one can be a better advocate for your health than you. Also, it is important to communicate your expectations because this allows us to provide care that is even more tailored to your individual needs and allows you to feel in control of your own plan of care.

What’s one thing your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?

I have a passion for teaching, particularly in relation to public health issues. I am

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very interested in a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on the entire patient and really takes in to consideration things like diet, exercise and lifestyle habits. I love educating patients on how to make modifications to these aspects of their life in order to improve their overall health status.

What’s the best advice you ever received? Who gave it to you?

To constantly ask myself “Will this matter a year from now?” It is very easy to get caught up in life and think that every situation is dire. When I ask myself this question I realize that the problem is not as big as I’ve made it out to be 95 percent of the time. I received this advice from my husband.

What’s the last good book you read?

“The Sugar Queen” by Sarah Addison Allen (Bantam, 2009)

What is your favorite daytime beverage?



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