Baylor nurses inspire, influence and innovate

Ten years ago, Allison Carter was a medical assistant at Baylor, exploring the inclination she had that she wanted to go into nursing. Today, she is being recognized as one of the city’s top nurses through the Houston Chronicle’s Salute to Nurses awards program.

“It was a shock and an honor,” Carter said of the Chronicle honor, “but it proves to me that what I’m doing as a nurse is working – I’m making a difference in my patients’ lives, in the lives of other nurses and medical professionals and in my own.”

Allison Carter

Carter, a registered nurse in the Transition Medicine Clinic, was honored as one of Houston’s top 15 nurses at an awards ceremony May 2 at the Royal Sonesta, and she is the lone Baylor College of Medicine nurse who will be included in the special section of the newspaper recognizing the city’s top 150 nurses.

She acknowledges she’s come a long way since she started college, when she had a different career in mind altogether.

“When I first went to college, I thought I wanted to be a landscape architect, and I quickly found out that is not what I wanted to do in life. I moved back home with the same confusion that a lot of young people go through.”

It was her father’s suggestion to consider nursing that got the ball rolling on her new career. She started as a medical assistant intern in the Department of Medicine at Baylor and was soon assigned to the Transition Medicine Clinic. Like many people, she wasn’t familiar with transition medicine. At Baylor, the clinic sees patients with chronic diseases like autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other congenital conditions when the patients are transitioning from pediatric to adult care starting at about age 19.

Carter was drawn to the patients in the Transition Medicine Clinic immediately and knew that nursing was right for her. She earned a bachelor’s degree with a focus in patient education from the University of Houston and then in 2014, she completed a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Houston Sugar Land.

She’s not done growing and learning as a nurse, though, and encourages her peers to do the same.

“In my career at Baylor, transition medicine has allowed me to grow – I feel like I have become a better advocate for my patients and for nursing. I have the opportunity to train new nurses in our department and expose them to our patient population. It’s important for me to share this special bond you can have with this patient population.”

Learn more about Carter and the patients she serves in this video.

“Allison is an excellent nurse, one of our stars,” said Kristin Wade, vice president of nursing at Baylor. “She’s representative of all of the hardworking nurses here at Baylor College of Medicine and their commitment to the very best patient care.”

Baylor is recognizing all of its nurses during National Nurses Week, May 6 – 12. The theme of the week, established by the American Nurses Association, is “Inspire. Influence. Innovate.” Like Allison Carter, nurses Reshmi Kurup and Marcos Manon embody this theme.

Reshmi Kurup, a registered nurse and nursing supervisor in neurology, currently is working on her master’s degree in science with a focus on adult gerontology acute care. She loves being able to help patients and her colleagues.

“What I love about being a nurse is that I get to help people in their time of need. At Baylor, being in a supervisor position gives me an opportunity not only to help patients, but also help my staff to reach their goals,” she said.

Kurup has focused on helping medical assistants build their skills by developing training opportunities, including launching an annual “Skills Day.”

She explains the concept: “Annual skills days help keep medical assistants and nurses fluent on skills that we use on a daily basis and on skills that are not used daily. It ensures we are following the correct policy and procedures and helps maintain standard of care. It also helps build confidence among our staff.”

Marcos Manon, RN, in the pulmonology clinic, entered the healthcare field as a nurse’s aid at a long-term care facility, but felt he could contribute more than that role allowed. He completed his bachelor’s degree in nursing from Penn State, and now encourages his peers to continue their education as well.

“I feel it is important to live up to your fullest potential and to continue to aspire to greater heights,” said Manon, who also served in the Naval Reserves. “After all, it is better to say you have tried and failed, rather than not tried at all.”