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Assistant director of nursing leads others to health and wellness

By Staff | May 10, 2017

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Honoring national nurses week at the Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Muncy are (L-R) Kasey Daniels, RN; Alicia Gross, staffing/scheduling associate; and Rachel Barto, assistant director of nursing.

MUNCY – The American Nurse’s Association (ANA) has designated 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse.” The week of May 6-12 is designated as National Nurses Week 2017 which was developed by ANA to celebrate and recognize nurses working in the many fields of the health care profession.

Starting this Saturday be sure to say thanks to nurses and caregivers who lead the charge for health and wellness.

One nurse in particular, has been recognized by her peers and staff, and that is Rachel Barto, assistant director of nursing at Muncy’s Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and part of UPMC Susquehanna.

Bobbie Woolcock, the director of nursing, said she is always there when needed. “She is ambitious,” she said.

Barto, who started as a nurse assistant, saw the many opportunities available to her in the nursing field and has advanced herself to the position of assistant director in less than ten years. “I always wanted to be in the health field,” Barto said. She first considered physical therapy when she started her education at Penn College, but then decided on nursing for her career. “I like interacting with the patients,” she added, “making their day better, and making them smile.”

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary As assistant director of nursing at the Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Muncy, Rachel Barto supervises a staff of close to fifty, and is in charge of daily clinical operations.

Not only is she submerged in administrative duties, but Barto also sees several patients a day. “We are seeing more and more short term patients,” she replied. Many come to the unit for extra rehab, and not as many are admitted permanently. “Many are living at home longer than before.”

Barto is in charge of daily clinical operations at the Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and supervises a staff of about fifty according to Woolcock.

When she first started at the center, Barto was in charge of the ventilator unit, then worked her way to infection control. Before her promotion as the assistant director two months ago, she was the nurse educator for three years. Currently, she is working on a master’s degree in science nursing with an emphasis on leadership. Barto also is certified in gerontology, the scientific study of old age and the process of aging. She is particularly mindful of the problems old people face.

When asked what her toughest job is in the nursing field, Barto replied, “It is hard when there’s not much you can do for someone, and you realize it.” She said much support comes from the staff. “They are great here. They go above and beyond to care for the residents, and go out of their way to make things better for them and their families.”

Barto is a Hughesville native and now lives in Huntersville with her husband and two young boys, ages two and four. Going to school, working and taking care of a family can be challenging, but Barto said she hopes to be a good role model for her boys. “I work on my school assignments after the kids are in bed,” she said. This January she will have her full credentialing.

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Rachel Barto, assistant director of nursing and Bobbie Woolcock, director of nursing are going over the scheduling at the Muncy Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

There are always opportunities for nursing and nursing assistants according to Barto. A sign posted in her office reads “Nursing is a work of heart.”

For nurse’s week, this year’s theme is “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.” Saturday, May 6 is National Nurses Day and the kickoff date every year so it can end on May 12 which is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. According to the ANA, these permanent dates enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognized event that gives support to nurses every year since 1896.