TU student with big heart for tiny patients already has dream job

By Megan Bradshaw on May 13, 2019

Abbie Poindexter ’19 is ready for her ‘dream job’ in the NICU

Abbie Poindexter

Being a nurse is all in the family for Abbie Poindexter ’19. Her mother is a pediatric licensed practical nurse (LPN) and, growing up, Poindexter tagged along on her mother’s home visits. 

“She would let me help with certain parts of the care,” Poindexter remembers. “I grew up familiar with medical equipment and procedures, and none of it scared me. I couldn’t really imagine myself doing anything else after witnessing my mom’s job.”

At Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Maryland, Poindexter took honors and AP courses along with enrolling in the nursing program at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center. She graduated with her certified nursing assistant (CNA), certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA) and geriatric nursing assistant (GNA) certifications.

She chose TU for its high-quality nursing program and enrolled in the Honors College as a freshman, looking to continue challenging herself academically. It was through Honors that she met assistant professor Adriane Burgess, who taught Poindexter’s obstetrics course.

“She’s awesome,” says Poindexter. “She’s so open and enthusiastic and willing to help. When I was in her class, she was so engaging. She puts her heart into everything she does.” 

Poindexter completed three independent research studies with Burgess, beginning with a literature review on postpartum  weight loss and lactation. They then analyzed data from TU’s postpartum body study. The pair are now shifting focus to gestational weight gain. 

Poindexter has presented her research at two Celebration of Scholarship and Learning events and at the College of Health Professions’ research symposium. She received an Honors Research Impact Award for her work. 

“It was really awesome because I wasn’t expecting it,” she says. “I wasn’t interested in research in the beginning, but I became really passionate about the topic.”

Poindexter credits her work with Burgess as being particularly helpful in preparing her for her courses.

“I was exposed to neonatal and mother-baby experiences way before I did it in class because of working with Dr. Burgess,” she notes. “Even though I was taking these classes for the first time, I felt so prepared. It was like I was taking a refresher course.” 

Poindexter has wanted to work in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) since she was young. When it came time to apply for her senior practicum, Poindexter zeroed in on the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) Clinical Scholars program. 

“I worked 109 hours at the hospital,” she says. “I was treated just like I was a new nurse being oriented to the NICU. My first day, there was a two-pound baby who was ventilated with all these tubes, and it really hit home that I was going to be working with these babies.” 

Poindexter feels that “pretty much anything I can do with a stable baby, I could handle right now. I got the full experience of what it was like to work in a NICU.” 

The two-pound baby she met on her first day grew to eight pounds by her last. 

“He was no longer ventilated,” she says. “I got to hold him and give him a bath. It was the best last-day task ever.”

With the successful completion of her practicum, Poindexter has accepted a full-time position as a registered NICU nurse at UMMC. 

“Knowing it’s my dream job—and one that not many new graduates get to have—I’m so grateful,” she says. “I’m so relieved that I’ve already had nine shifts working on the floor I’m going to be working on after graduation.” 

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