Q&A: UH professor named one of Houston’s top 25 nurses
After years of emotionally supporting patients, providing medical care, researching and assisting students towards success, assistant professor of nursing Lisette Barton was recently named one of the top 25 nurses of the greater Houston area. Barton continues to promote public health and help students achieve their greatest successes. The Cougar sat down with Barton to talk about her recent accomplishments and plans for her future at UH.
The Cougar: When did you begin teaching at the UH? What drew you to being a part of the UH family?
Lisette Barton: I started at UH six years ago because a mentor of mine asked me to come and work for her. Her name is Kathryn Tart, and it was an honor to be asked to join her group. I was shocked that my dean, Dr. Kathryn Tart, nominated me for the award. It is a great honor for someone to go above and beyond to do something like this for me. I am proud to be part of the UH family, and I am looking forward to many more years of working with such great colleagues.
TC: What kind of efforts, struggles and responsibilities did you have to overcome to achieve this accomplishment?
LB: I started out with a dream for financial security. I was the first in my family to go to college, and I had to do it on my own. I fell in love with nursing at Baylor and have never looked back. Achieving my Ph.D. was a huge landmark as well.
TC: What kind of research projects did you contribute to? How have they transformed you as a nurse?
LB: I have contributed to many research projects, mainly focused on women’s health and student success. Being a research scientist is the most fascinating journey. Along that journey, I have discovered new knowledge about nursing and nursing education, which has been very rewarding.
TC: How is being a nurse different from other science-related careers?
LB: Nursing is definitely a science, and I tend to gravitate to this side of the profession, both in practice and in education. The way that it differs from other science is that nursing is also an art. The art of nursing is what makes the science work. For example, the science of nursing would have us delivering the newest drug therapy to a patient in the safest and most effective manner possible. The art of nursing would be knowing just what to say (or) do to get a patient to continue the therapy even though there are unpleasant side effects, to be fully present to listen to how the therapy is affecting the patient’s daily life and working together to find a balance.
TC: What kind of jaw-dropping or bizarre experiences have you met along your journey of being a nurse?
LB: I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t print most of them in the paper. One I can tell you is that I took a group of students to Guatemala on a medical mission trip, and the level of poverty and ill health that we were exposed to was a jaw-dropping experience for me and my students. We are so privileged here in the U.S., where healthcare is available to everyone at some level, and people live with a much higher degree of wellness.
TC: What is unique about being both a nurse and a professor?
LB: It is the best of both worlds. I love being a nurse, and I love helping people. Nursing is so diverse. There is literally a place for anyone who wants to make a difference in the world. Passing on my knowledge and experience is very fulfilling to me as it is a way to give back. Everywhere I go in Houston, I see my students from the past practicing and living a good life…(there is) nothing better.