From a young age Col. Janie Shaw knew that she wanted to be a nurse. Her 'Aha' moment was during a childhood visit at her grandfather's while a nurse provided him with care. "I wanted to be like that nurse," Shaw recalled after the nurse asked her if she wanted to help. It was from that moment on she knew that becoming a nurse was her path. "It was all I talked about. It was my goal."
"Nursing is one of the most trusted professions. People trust nurses because nurses are at all touchpoints and aspects of a patient's healthcare experience," Shaw remarked about her chosen profession.
After graduating from East Tennessee State University's College of Nursing in December 1991, Shaw pursued her active-duty career in March 1992 after her father, a retired Army NCO, encouraged her to join the Army Nurse Corps.
"We all have gifts and talents and the one gift I think I have is compassion and caring for people because I love people," Shaw said.
Now, after 27 years in the Army Nurse Corps and several leadership positions, Shaw is the Deputy Commander for Nursing (DCN) at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center. As DCN, she is responsible for the Pharmacy, Lab, Radiology, Preventive Medicine and Emergency Medical Services.
In addition, as the DCN she is responsible for the delivery of nursing care. She supports and oversees the practice of nursing and the procedures, actions, and processes that nurses at Kimbrough are permitted to undertake.
For Shaw, being the Deputy Commander of Nursing is different from any previous job. "I am no longer just responsible for nursing care, but ancillary support services as well. However, I'm learning more and getting to interact with different departments on another level and getting to know their requirements from their perspective.
"I love leading nurses to deliver the best care they can and enjoy the opportunity to influence the care that is delivered," Shaw said. "The nurses at Kimbrough love what they do. They all love working with and supporting the military."
According to Shaw, nurses have to have caring and compassion in addition to having technical knowledge. "They need to create the human, emotional connection with patients in order to provide the best possible care."
The role of nurses to healthcare and their contributions to society is why May 6-12 has been designated as Nurses week. The week commemorates dedicated nurses, certified nursing assistants, and new nursing grads by celebrating and elevating the nursing profession. This year's theme is 4 Million Reasons to Celebrate.
"I love nursing. I feel like it was my calling," Shaw said. "Nursing has definitely changed me. It has made me better person. What changed in me was the ability to be more sympathetic toward people dealing with difficult moments in life. It is a privilege to be a nurse."