Triple Skills, Triple Rewards
Barbara McLean (center)
In sports, the term "triple threat" describes a player who is adept in three areas. The same can be said of Barbara McLean 92MN in her roles as clinical specialist, global educator, and disaster volunteer.
In her part-time position at Grady Memorial Hospital, McLean provides clinical care expertise and education for the 30-bed trauma-surgical unit and the 30-bed medical intensive care unit. She spends 30 hours per week in nursing rounds, consultation, and practice as well as impromptu bedside education and discussion. She offers advanced education for critical care personnel, including house staff and nursing staff in the Level 1 trauma center at Grady, develops critical care case studies and protocols, mentors senior nurses, assists in the direct care of high-acuity patients, and helps resolve family issues.
Outside of Grady, McLean has spoken at critical care conferences and taught in hospitals in the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. She lectures to both nurses and physicians. "I talk about how to collaborate and rely on each other for evaluation in critical care," she says.
"Physicians rely on the data delivery of nurses," she adds. "Nurses have to demonstrate a high level of skill at the bedside and be able to transfer that information to others in an organized approach."
In recent years, she has regularly taught a 10-week intensive care course in Tanzania and visited Haiti 14 times to educate clinicians and assist with disaster relief. She was on the ground in Haiti three days after the 2010 earthquake. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she connected with the the University of Texas to provide disaster relief. Last fall, she traveled to New York to help fill the profound need for nurses after Hurricane Sandy. In addition, McLean travels twice yearly to Nicaragua as a consultant on critical care at Hospital Aproquen Los Ninos.
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. She is the recipient of the Norma Shoemaker Excellence in Critical Care Nursing Award, a lifetime achievement bestowed by the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), and the Distinguished Service Award, presented by the same society, for her volunteerism. McLean has received other awards from SCCM and the American Association of Critical Care Nursing.
"I do what I do," she says, "because that is the most intimate and rewarding experience one can have—caring for people."—SWK