Riggs Celebrates the Career of Nurse Educator, Barb Turner Hart



by Aaron Beatty

Barbara Turner Hart, MSN, nurse educatorOn a beautiful afternoon, Friday, June 27, co-workers and friends gathered to celebrate Barbara Turner Hart, MSN, nurse educator for the last 10 years at Riggs, as she retired from a 42-year career in nursing, 18 of which were spent at Riggs.

Barbara began her time at Riggs as a staff nurse in 1977, spent some time away from Riggs and returned again from 1988-1994. After another hiatus, she again returned, now in the role of  the nurse educator, from 2004-2014.

Nurses at Riggs play a vital role; they help patients cultivate necessary skills and become more comfortable and articulate in expressing their understanding of the meaning behind their behaviors and relationships, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

During the gathering to celebrate Barbara, James Sacksteder, Medical Director/CEO at Riggs remarked “I have been astounded by your energy, admiring of your indefatigable efforts to be helpful to patients and staff and grateful to you for your deep devotion and dedication to the Center and its mission.”

In her blog post from earlier this year, Barbara reflected on the open setting at Riggs as it relates to nursing. She wrote, “Nurses at Riggs must do more than simply articulate institutional policies and procedures in order to help patients fully access the depth of treatment available in our open setting. Nursing in this context is genuine, engaged and directive. It is based on mediating and adjudicating the therapeutic process between patients as well as the patient and the open setting itself.” This gives you a sense of how Barbara viewed the role of nursing at Riggs and her role as educator in passing on her learning to the rest of the nursing staff. The nature of her position required a tirelessness and creativity that allowed the rest of the nursing staff to participate in meaningful educational opportunities.

As we say goodbye to Barbara and wish her well in retirement, we acknowledge the void she leaves and know she will be missed. However, the mark she has left will surely continue to inform and instruct the important and necessary work of the nursing staff at Riggs.

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