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Meet Our Donors - Judith Poole
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Judith H Poole, PhD, MBA/MHA, RNC-OB

“I have a weakness for AWHONN.  If there is something I can do to help, I’ll do it.  I find that the more I do, the more I want to do,” said Judith Poole, labor and delivery staff nurse at NovantHealth Presbyterian Medical Center, Charlotte, NC and AWHONN past president.  And over the years, Judith has done just that.

A perinatal nurse with more than 30 years of experience working in high volume birth centers, Judith has been a member of AWHONN since 1984, known then as the Nurses Association of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (NAACOG).  Soon after joining, she served as an officer, vice chair and chair of a chapter in the North Carolina Section, and then as vice chair of District 4. “There were no digital resources then.  We copied the handout materials for our meetings using a mimeograph machine,” she recalled.

Judith, a native North Carolinian, was elected to the AWHONN Board of Directors in 2005 and led several committees. “I was invited to chair the practice committee, which morphed into task forces for practice issues, physician statements, educational documents and journal review,” she said.  “I had the opportunity to chair the standards committee.  We took a big step at that time and chose to follow the American Nurses Association (ANA) standards for professional practice.  We developed staffing guidelines, which became an important document for our organization.  Later, I worked on the program planning committee,” said Judith.  “And, in 2007 I had the honor of being president. We worked to be recognized as a true partner in promoting the health of women and newborns by building collaborations with other women’s health organizations,” she added. Judith received AWHONN’s Distinguished Professional Service Award in 2010.

In 2013, Judith chaired the planning committee for the annual convention.  “It was both a labor of intensity and a labor of love,” said Judith. “The AWHONN Convention offers networking and so much more.  I appreciate how the members of the planning committees don’t hesitate to bring up subjects that may be thought of as controversial and go out on a limb in considering topics for discussion. I also like that we’ve given ourselves permission to be less formal, which gives us more time for education.”

Judith pursued her nursing career with the same vigor.  She started as a staff nurse in newborn nursery and has now come back to the bedside. In between Judith has worked as a perinatal outreach coordinator, a perinatal clinical nurse specialist, and assistant professor in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Holding a PhD in Nursing Science from the University of South Carolina and a MHA/MBA from Pfeiffer University, she served as a member of the North Carolina State Board of Nursing, the test development team for the NCC High Risk Obstetrics exam, NCC Fetal Monitoring exam, and the American Nurses' Credentialing Center Perinatal Nurse Exam. She authored publications for AWHONN, for the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, Critical Care Nursing Clinics, MCN and the March of Dimes. She has also presented webinars on topics related to preeclampsia, a personal topic for Judith.  Her mother struggled with the condition when she was pregnant with Judith’s brother.   

“AWHONN is a huge extended family.  I have friends all over the country because of AWHONN,” she continued.  “No matter where you are, you can find someone who is involved with AWHONN.  When I first finished nursing school, one of my roles was as a nursing outreach educator.  I remember once I had gotten a call from colleagues who needed information to help a patient. I immediately tapped into the people from AWHONN and within two hours, the office had faxed all the documents that the patient needed. My colleagues said, ‘I don’t know how you did this’ but I knew I could get the resources I needed.  That has been one of the most valuable things of AWHONN membership,” Judith said.

“When I was in a manager role and interviewing new graduates, I’d advise them to get involved in AWHONN and attend local meetings so that they could meet people and find out what’s going on.  Being a member is the best way to keep current.  Getting involved helps make learning easier. Along with access to others for information and advice, membership can give confidence to someone who is new to the profession,” said Judith.

 “I’m winding down my career now,” she continued.  “At the same time, I want to push for more advanced practice nursing.  Research is important.  We must show the impact of our profession and our specialty, and how a nurse at the bedside can really and truly make the difference.   We must stay up front and in the forefront and have a legislative presence.  It’s a challenge, but we’re up it.  It may seem overwhelming at times but AWHONN has the key players to do it. We’ve got the perfect person in Lynn (Erdman, CEO) to build relationships with other associations, facilitate growth and get us in the right place at the right time,” said Judith. 


“I feel like I’ve gone full circle.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being an active member of AWHONN, and I plan to continue to be involved because I feel strongly about getting women and newborns the things they need,” she said.  With that belief, Judith contributes to Every Woman, Every Baby, AWHONN’s charitable giving program.  She’s also made a gift to AWHONN in her will, helping to assure that AWHONN’s important work will continue in the future.  “Giving is important, now and in the future.  Membership is just one portion of what comes in and AWHONN needs other sources of income,” Judith said. “Contributing to Every Woman, Every Baby is just a small way for me to give back for all that AWHONN has given me.  I want to help AWHONN create something new and different in the future.  By giving to AWHONN, I know my gift will do the most good.”

Learn how you can remember AWHONN with a gift in your will or estate.  Contact Pamela Spears, Director of Development at 202-261-2437 or


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