Tyrone Barnes ’14 ~ The Time to Make A Difference is Now

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 11:30am
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After spending years on the road and caring for thousands of patients, a brief stop back in Tyrone Barnes’ hometown of Mobile, Ala., completely changed the direction of his career.

Barnes, who then lived in Houston, Texas, decided to stop by Spring Hill College’s division of nursing to visit some old professors. While on campus, he had the chance to speak to Dr. Ola Fox about his dreams and aspirations.

“Dr. Fox listened, and then recommended that I look at Spring Hill’s Master of Science in Nursing. The clinical nurse leader (CNL) degree track was exactly what I was looking for—allowing me to operate in an advanced nursing role and maintain frequent contact with patients and healthcare providers,” says Barnes. “I already believed in the SHC mission, values and goals, so my decision was easy. I applied right away.”

Fox, the Spring Hill College nursing department’s graduate program director, remembered Barnes from his undergraduate years at SHC, and particularly, the contributions he made to The Springhillian student newspaper. “He wrote in one of his columns that, ‘Personally, I have an insatiable appetite for offering hope and inspiration to others. I think it is fulfilling to know that you have turned a person’s day around with a gesture as simple as a smile. I do believe that it is possible to help yourself by…making someone else’s life run more smoothly.’”

Dr. Fox observed that Barnes actually described desirable characteristics of a clinical nurse leader. “Tyrone brought his insatiable appetite for offering hope and inspiration to others to the online classroom and his clinical practice as a RN team leader,” adds Dr. Fox. “This spirit of selflessly caring about the lives of others had made him a trusted leader among his fellow students. I am proud to be a part of his journey to advance his nursing education.”

While in graduate school, Barnes worked as a telemetry and oncology nurse at Springhill Medical Center, a level II trauma hospital. His responsibilities included caring for a vast array of patient populations with various health issues, counseling families, and collaborating with healthcare providers to formulate patient treatment plans. 

“It was a challenge to balance work and my courses,” says Barnes. “During graduate school, I worked weekends only in order to have consecutive weekdays off to complete class assignments and participate in clinical activities. I would often steal away to Burke Memorial Library or computer lab for a quiet space to complete my classwork. I quickly learned how to make the most of my time and adhere to a strict schedule.”

During his graduate studies, Barnes worked most closely with Dr. Fox, his advisor, but found the caliber of nursing professors at Spring Hill College to be exceptional. 

“They all bring a variety of thoughts and ideas to the intellectual table, nurturing students, and encouraging open-mindedness,” says Barnes. “My favorite course during the program was Theoretical Principles of Leadership and Management. In this class, I learned how to align my thoughts and ideas with structured theories and rules that I will use in the field as a clinical nurse leader.”

Barnes completed Spring Hill’s nursing program and graduated with his MSN in May. His career plans include securing a position as a clinical nurse leader, completing several nursing practice and teaching certifications, and, later, pursuing a doctorate of nursing practice, the terminal degree for an advanced practicing nurse.

“My experiences as a nurse and as a graduate student at Spring Hill College have taught me to be the change I would like to see in the world,” says Barnes. “There is no future like the present and the time to make a difference in one’s life is now. I believe that these are the sort of leaders that Spring Hill College fashions and puts forth into the world.”

For those students new to Spring Hill College and graduate school, Barnes advises time management, hard work, and continuous improvement, as well as rest and relaxation.

“There are a myriad of great opportunities that await those who work diligently and prioritize accordingly,” says Barnes. “A critical adult concept I am trying to master now is to think ahead so that I do not get behind.  However, it is also important to take a break every once in a while. After all, most people only get to experience college once.”

In his free time, Barnes enjoys movies, video games, and spends time with friends, family, and his Labrador Retriever. He has an 11-year-old sister named Ashanti, an honor roll student at Clark-Shaw Magnet Middle School and member of the Port City Blazers basketball team.