Missionary Nurse to Pursue Training at School of Nursing
by Judy Long
Malaria, typhoid and HIV positive students were the challenges Linda Barany met on a daily basis as a school nurse in Uganda and Kenya. "It was nursing on the fly. In Africa, we are expected to diagnose and treat," said Barany, who began work toward certification as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) June 1 at Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing.
Barany, who was called to mission work at age 14, grew up in Rhode Island and received her bachelor's degree in nursing from University of Rochester, New York. She decided to invest the time for additional training when she realized she needed advanced nursing skills to meet the needs of her third world patients in Uganda.
"In Africa, nurses are given a lot of leeway," Barany said. She often had to learn how to get treatment for her students when she encountered diseases seldom seen in the U.S.
After completion of her studies, Barany plans to return to Africa to serve more effectively the health care needs of the Ugandan people.
In 1998, Barany first found out about Baylor and its missions component at the first International Nursing Symposium in Kenya, which seeks to provide continuing education units for nurses to maintain certifications to practice nursing around the world. Nursing professor Amy Roberts spoke and represented Baylor at the conference, telling of its interest in serving people in every part of the world.
"Several Baylor faculty came to Kenya and poured out their heart and soul for us. They brought equipment for training and left as much as they could," Barany said.
Baylor's Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program is a master's degree plan designed to prepare registered nurses to deliver primary health care to underserved people from a variety of cultures. The program emphasizes health promotion, disease prevention and management of acute and chronic illness. Students may opt to complete part of their required clinical hours at an international site with missionary nurse practitioners, doctors and faculty supervision.
Baylor has supported many missionary nurses pursuing the FNP degree by providing tuition expenses, said Dr. Judy Wright Lott, dean of the nursing school. "We do this because it fits so well into Baylor's mission. The FNP program is particularly pertinent to mission work because of its unique focus. It provides the student an opportunity to integrate the key components of the Baylor mission--education, service and research--into a professional career."
School of Nursing FNP students are given the opportunity to perform a clinical in a foreign country and to participate in a trip to Mexico every year. During the program, they work alongside faculty to deliver care, making them seasoned FNPs by graduation.
"It prepares the nurse to function in a traditional role, but it also gives them the expertise to work in mission fields, in foreign countries or underserved areas in the U.S. and to handle the variety of skills needed to operate health clinics. It gives them practical skills needed in mission service," Lott said.