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Ariana Haywood, BSN, RN: Nurse, Leader, Student

December 27, 2022
A little more than five years ago, Ariana Haywood, BSN, RN, was wrapping up a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Stevenson University. A few of her fellow nursing school friends applied to GBMC, and she did as well.

Looking back, she agreed it was a good club to join.

“I like the fast-paced environment in the Emergency Department,” Ariana said. “I absolutely love taking care of patients, but I also love my coworkers. It’s definitely a big family. Even on days when I don’t feel like coming into work, I see everyone, and it makes it better.”

As a clinical nurse leader in the Emergency Department, Ariana helps guides teams of nurses as they take care of patients suffering from various health crises. Leadership wasn’t necessarily in her sights when she began her nursing career, but those she worked with saw the leader in her and encouraged her to give it a try.

“When I first started as a nurse, I didn’t necessarily intend to climb the leadership ladder or work on the administration side of nursing, but my coworkers saw something in me that I didn’t see,” Ariana said. “They thought I would be a great leader and told me to apply as an RN3, and then, to the RN4 position, where I would gain more responsibility in implementing projects dealing with education and onboarding. I’m glad I listened to their confidence in me. It’s really because of them that I am where I am today.”

And the support goes both ways. Ariana currently attends Towson University where she is on the way to earning a Master of Science degree in Community Health and Health Administration. In addition to gaining a better understanding of how to educate patients about their health, especially during the discharge process, she applies her learnings to managing her team as well.

The healthcare management side of the degree also gives her actionable steps to better educate staff, communicate with them, and improve the overall culture of the Emergency Department. Balancing the personalities of incoming new graduate nurses with those of her most experienced nurses, Ariana can really hone in on how to touch each group so they are getting the right information through the channels that are most effective for them.

Communication is a central focus of the master’s degree she is pursing. As an ED nurse, Ariana sees firsthand how a lack of basic health knowledge can negatively impact a patient’s experience, and even threaten to cause harm.

“A lot of people don’t know the basics of taking care of themselves, things you don’t learn in school or in everyday life,” she said. “For instance, the fact that Tylenol and acetaminophen are the same thing. I will ask patients if they have taken acetaminophen and they will say no. But when I say the brand name, they say, “Oh, yes, I have taken that today.” It’s a small thing, but so important because if they don’t know the difference, you can unintentionally cause harm to patients.”

GBMC is fortunate to have nurses like Ariana who are applying skills like community health education to improve the patient experience when they are in the hospital as well as when they leave. Ariana feels a sense of gratitude to her management team for supporting her in pursuing higher education. She said they always work with her schedule so she doesn’t miss class and she has benefited from the pre-paid tuition assistance GBMC offers as well as other scholarship opportunities.

My husband and I just bought a house, and we are trying to start our own family and make this house a home,” Ariana said. “Not having to worry about that piece of our finances is great and a big weight off my shoulders. I’m also helping my brother through school. He will be 23 in February and goes to Western Kentucky University. Having financial support from GBMC has allowed me to continue to support him as he learns. He is looking at medical school next!”

In the future, Ariana looks forward to working in the community, encouraging healthier lifestyles for people, and helping them advocate for their health. She would love to work with adolescents to start the journey of health education and self-advocacy even earlier.

And it will be the encouragement, support, and friendships she made at GBMC that helped get her there.

If you have a passion for providing quality care with a great group of people, please consider applying. Use GBMC's new "Quick Apply" form to complete an application in approximately one minute.
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