Robbie Taylor would like you to think that her long, successful career with Baptist has been possible because she was lucky, but those who work with her or hear her talk about nursing and infection prevention (IP) can figure out quickly that her curiosity, intelligence, love of people and generous spirit have had a big hand in it! She is humbly amazed she’s been able to accomplish so much during her 47-year career with Baptist.
Robbie was the manager of infection prevention and employee health at Baptist Union City when she retired in December 2021. She wasn’t away long. Robbie returned to Baptist shortly after retirement to help with the surge of patients with COVID-19.
Since her retirement, Robbie has become a relief nurse at Baptist Union City in critical care and the emergency department. She’s also working as a nurse supervisor and in IP, assisting while her replacement is out on maternity leave.
While Lori Brown, CNO at Baptist Union City, was happy for Robbie when she retired, she also thought about “the loss of a great nurse with a wealth of knowledge walking out the door.” So, when Robbie returned to work as a PRN, Brown said she was “ecstatic to say the least.”
“Robbie has literally hit the ground running, working in most every area of nursing, as well as bringing her leadership skills to help in supervision,” said Brown.
Becoming a Nurse and an Infection Preventionist
Having started with Baptist as a nurse assistant in a nursing home at just 17 years old, Robbie realized quickly that she wanted to pursue a career as a nurse. She still remembers those nurses who helped her when she first started.
When she applied for the job as a nurse assistant, Robbie said Vera Roberts, a former RN at Baptist Union City, was the first person she talked with about the profession. Later, Barbara Green, an LPN at the hospital at the time, showed her the ropes when she first entered the hospital environment. Robbie noted that both women are fondly remembered in Union City, Tennessee.
Robbie attended UT Martin to get her nursing degree, and her love of learning has been lifelong. In fact, new challenges are exciting to Robbie. She said, “I love telling people about new bugs that come out. I’ve even had people over the years give me stuffed bugs!”
While Robbie left her nursing job at Baptist Union City to work in informatics at Baptist Corporate in Memphis for a year back in 1998, she soon found a new opportunity that would allow her to work with nurses, solve new challenges and continue educating others. Robbie’s experience with computers gained while she was in Corporate helped her land the job in IP at Baptist Union City in 1999. She was also happy to be back with family in Martin, Tennessee.
Robbie wanted to go into IP because it is “everchanging.” She said, “That role gave me the opportunity to be involved in different things, new infections, resistance to antibiotics.”
Staying Motivated and Safe
When a chaplain asked Robbie recently how she has kept her passion for her work for so many years, she said, “You’ve got to love what you’re doing. When times are hard like they are now, think about why you decided to do what you’re doing.”
“We’ve seen more COVID admissions, more patients on ventilators, and for longer during the months of December and January than we ever have,” noted Robbie when discussing COVID patient numbers at Baptist Union City in late 2021 and early 2022.
While Robbie is conscientious about protecting herself from infection with COVID-19 during her continuing work in nursing, she said she isn’t afraid.
“I don’t worry about it. I worry about co-workers and patients. I can’t keep doing what I do if I’m scared. Most of us [nurses] have done well, and have not had COVID, so I think it’s a right mindset and we’re conscientious about taking care of ourselves,” said Robbie.
What’s in Robbie’s future? Probably another year of helping with nursing at Baptist Union City, and more travel. Robbie is known in Union City as a “world traveler.” She’s been on all the continents and stopped counting after 156 countries visited! She’s thankful for Baptist’s PTO benefits and willingness to allow her to travel for weeks at a time.
“I hope COVID will settle down so I can do more traveling. My mother and I have been travelling partners since 2002 when my father died. She can no longer travel, so I’ll start letting my husband go with me,” joked Robbie, who noted that she’s been to most places she wants to go, but would like to take her husband and grandchildren to some of her favorite spots.
“I promised my granddaughter a tour of castles for her 10th birthday,” said Robbie.
Making an Impact
“What better opportunity do we have to make a difference in someone’s life than taking care of someone when they’re sick? No one can cure everybody, but there is nothing more satisfying to the soul than making that impact on someone’s life. My heart is in nursing,” said Robbie of her decision to work in the field for nearly 50 years. And she’s had a big impact with her patients and her work educating nurses on IP.
Robbie described one of her fondest memories in nursing: “Recently, we had another nurse who retired, and shortly before he retired, he told me I was the reason he became a nurse, that decades ago as a new nurse I took care of a family member of his and he watched the way I took care of that family member. He told me, ‘And I knew then that I wanted to be a nurse like you.’”