Emory Report

May 18, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 32

Nursing grad finds
pediatrics a passion

Kelly Spooner was intrigued to find that the sick infants who visited the pediatrician's office in which she worked one summer were formula-fed, while those making "well-baby" visits were breast-fed.

"I am passionate about the importance of breast-feeding," said Spooner, a graduate of the School of Nursing. She transferred that passion, along with fellow nursing school students Kate Bown and Emily Young, into her Senior Innovative Project. The three created interactive information sessions for expectant and new adolescent mothers at Atlanta's Booker T. Washington High School, where they armed themselves with posters, nutritional charts, skits and healthy snacks for their participants. "What is lacking in a lot of moms is education about breast-feeding-enough information to make an educated decision," Spooner said. Many of the moms-to-be who attended one or both sessions eventually changed their minds about breast-feeding, Spooner reported.

Spooner, who plans to work for a year before returning to school to become a nurse practioner, has long been interested in pediatrics. Her tiny hometown of Sneads, Fla., is 50 miles from Tallahassee, the location of the the nearest pediatric hospital. "My goal is to go back home and provide care we don't now have," Spooner said. "Doctors and nurse practioners come but don't seem to stay." Spooner herself remembers having to travel miles to see a pediatrician.

The Washington High project is not the only one in which Spooner, a nursing honor society member and scholarship recipient, has been part. After finishing a psychiatric rotation at Phoenix House, a residence for the homeless mentally ill, she decided to assist in sprucing the place up a bit. Coordinating with local merchants, she helped secure and plant azaleas, annual and perennials that made the building look a little less institutional. She also has been active in giving respite to child care workers at her church, Peachtree Baptist.

Spooner once planned to become a doctor but was prodded into nursing by a friend, who thought the profession better suited Spooner's disposition. She soon agreed. "Nursing felt at home," she said. "It's giving the type of care I'd always been interested in-preventive care."

-Stacey Jones

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