DVIDS – News – Hearne, Texas Native Passion for Nursing Rooted in Caregiving for Her Grandmother

Hearne, Texas native, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. LaTarya Gulley’s passion for nursing began early on when she became her grandmother’s caregiver.

As the department chief for clinical education, Gulley a 17-year nurse who has been part of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center less than one year, has become a vital part of the team, leading by example with her approach to patient care.

According to Gulley, the most influential nurses possess a passion for nursing, genuine compassion for people, practical communication, and critical thinking skills. “You must always think one step ahead and consider all the factors involved when providing nursing care,” she says.

Gulley believes that loving what you do gives you the tenacity to stick it out when the job becomes challenging, stating “When you genuinely care for people, you have integrity with the care you provide.”

One of Gulley’s most rewarding moments as a nurse was “seeing premature infants thrive and grow up during our annual NICU reunions.”

One patient in particular is one of several she remembers, a tiny 23-week premature baby girl.

“I remember running into her mom years later and seeing her as an elementary school-age girl with no delays,” said Gulley. “You wouldn’t have known she was a premature infant who spent months in the NICU.”

Gulley says knowing she had a part in the 23-week preemie’s initial care, growth, and development is the “best feeling!”

As she reflects on good moments working in health care, Gulley also reflects on working in a high-stress healthcare environment, saying, “It can be emotionally demanding.” Still, Gulley manages it by separating work life from home by taking time to do things she enjoys, including working out. She goes on daily walks and runs to destress and reflect on her day.

Gulley’s experience in managing a particularly challenging patient case demonstrates what she says was her “ability to remain professional and keep her emotions in check” by collaborating with her team and stakeholders and following their patient-care policy.

For anyone considering a career in nursing, Gulley’s advice is simple, “Be passionate about the field and prepare to have the responsibility to use critical thinking, attention to detail, have compassion, and be professional.” She also encourages those interested in nursing to learn about the career by “talking to nurses and shadowing them, which are great ways to see the role in action.”

Gulley’s experience as her grandmother’s caretaker gave her a firsthand understanding of the intricacies of caring for someone and the importance of compassionate care. Her dedication to her grandmother’s well-being is a testament to the kind of nurse she is. Interestingly, Gulley grew up in a large family, with her grandmother having 18 children! Through her experiences, she learned the value of empathy and the importance of care in providing support during times of need.

Gulley’s journey in the nursing field is a testament to how passion and dedication can lead to success. Her story serves as a reminder that nurses like her are the backbone of medical facilities like Walter Reed.

Date Taken: 08.30.2023
Date Posted: 08.30.2023 10:27
Story ID: 452430
Location: BETHESDA, MD, US 

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