When she was 8, Carol Henry had a dream about being a public health nurse.
“In this dream,” she says, “I wore a blue dress, carried a black bag and visited patients in their homes in the community.”
Henry, whose grandmother was a teacher and the community nurse, taught her more than her ABC’s. “My other memories of her were her devotion and care of the sick in the community,” Henry says. “I remember the home remedies that my grandma used for the common cold, fevers and even minor burns. If I or someone else in the community had a burn, my grandma would be summoned. She would sit down and wave her hand over that individual’s burn, and speaking in what appeared to be a whisper, ‘talking the fire out of the burn.’ To this day, I don’t know the science behind her actions, but all I know is that Grandma’s ability to ‘talk the fire out of the burn’ was effective,” she says.
She began her career as a staff nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital and has worked as a nursing educator at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and as a community health nurse at Winston-Salem State University.
“I have been fortunate to work in a variety of nursing areas,” Henry says. Before retiring from A&T, “I had the opportunity to serve in the areas of nurse educator, researcher, practitioner, cooperate nurse but not in the area of Community Health Nursing,” she says. “Fortunately, Dr. Lenoir Campbell, formerly an associate dean of WSSU’s Division of Nursing, asked me to work in a part-time position as a nurse case manager.”
Each area of nursing has its challenges, Henry says. Nurses deal with these and the stress of helping patients and their families learn to adapt to new norms, either in the hospital or home settings. As a community health nurse, she helps them adjust.
Henry is also a volunteer parish nurse with AME Zion Churches of the Winston-Salem District. This role allows her to build trust among parishioners with health-care providers. She says her sense of humor, faith and strong work ethic help keep her strong.