Barbara Tewell, RNC-OB, MSN

For almost 47 years, Barbara Tewell, RNC-OB, MSN, has focused her career in Maternal Infant nursing, working in Labor and Delivery, Nursery, Postpartum and Antepartum. Recently retired, she served as a staff and charge nurse on the Mother Infant unit at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, California. “I was always a big reader and as a teenager I read the Cherry Ames nursing series. She did everything!  The desire to be helpful to people is what drove me.   Nurses impact the whole patient and I’m glad that I ended my career in postpartum so that I could see the new family that’s been created,” said Barb, the mother of two sons and grandmother of two granddaughters.

Barb has also been a member of the clinical faculty for several schools of Nursing in San Diego since obtaining her Master of Nursing in Education 2005.  She has mentored new employees, students and residents and has taught Basic Life Support (BLS), the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), the Perinatal Orientation and Education Program (POEP) and fetal monitoring, among others.  “I love working in teaching facilities,” she said.  “I teach that the patient is at the center of a wagon wheel.   The allied health professionals act as the spokes and the circle connecting it all is the nurse interfacing with all of the departments. There have been so many changes in our practice and advances in technology, but the constant is that nurses remain the most caring and trusted advocate and protection for their patients. Put the patient at the center of the wagon wheel and you will never go wrong.”

An active member of AWHONN since the mid 1970’s, Barb has served on local and national committees, including the nominating committee, convention host committee, program committee and as chair of the California Section. She has also been a member of the California Preconception Health Council, which works to improve outcomes by promoting mental and physical wellness before pregnancy.

More recently, she has served on the AWHONN board of directors and volunteered for the development committee, which guides AWHONN’s charitable giving program, Every Woman, Every Baby. “Working at the Every Woman, Every Baby booth at the (AWHONN Annual) Convention gave me the opportunity to tell our members about what we’ve been able to accomplish with their donations and how their contributions helped  support AWHONN’s mission.   Every little bit that we do makes a difference,” said Barb.  “I hope that we will be able to provide more scholarships and enable Every Woman, Every Baby to grow to the touch even more families.  That’s why I give and why I’m so supportive of nursing scholarship because of how it impacted me,” she said.

“I always tell a new nurse that the sky is the limit,” Barb continued.  “You can go as far as you want to go, but you must join (AWHONN) and you must be involved.  Nursing is ever evolving and you must continue to learn and grow in the profession. (I believe) that the way to learn is by belonging to our professional organization, by utilizing the journals and guidelines and connecting with the people who wrote them.  I’ve gotten far more out of AWHONN than I’ve given.  You just can’t beat the fact that AWHONN provides the latest and the greatest for evidence-based practice and that you can meet and know the leaders in our industry.  Membership in AWHONN provides a window into our future. If you don’t belong, you are missing the boat,” she said, adding, “AWHONN has been my fourth job and I’m honored to be a part of it.  I’ve retired from work and I’ve retired from teaching, but I’m not retiring from AWHONN.”