Barbara Blair’s role as director of Nursing for a 180-bed long-term, subacute care facility comes with plenty of professional rewards. Doubly gratifying for her is the recognition she recently received from TESU’s W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing and Health Professions for excellence in her field.
The 2022 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program graduate and this year’s recipient of the school’s Regina Sanchez-Porter Award noted that her professional focus has always been centered on long-term patient care. As director of Nursing for Morris Hall Senior Care Communities in Lawrenceville, N.J., she puts that skill set to use every day.
“I am responsible for the oversight and implementation of nursing best practices, staffing and compliance to our facility’s policies. I’m also responsible for ensuring that our facility meets state and federal regulations in our subacute care practices,” said Blair, a Hamilton, N.J., resident. “From the very beginning of my nursing education, I aspired to work in a senior care environment.”
She began her career at Morris Hall Senior Care as a charge nurse shortly after graduating from Mercer County Community College with an associate degree in nursing. She was subsequently promoted to unit manager and, later, to the position of clinical care coordinator before advancing to her current role.
“I was very grateful to receive the Regina Sanchez-Porter Award from the school. It was especially gratifying after also receiving the Arnold Fletcher Award from the university during October’s Commencement for my achievements in online learning. I feel blessed that my years of hard work, time, and effort were so honorably acknowledged.”
The Regina Sanchez-Porter Award is presented annually to a BSN or MSN graduate who has provided outstanding service to the profession and community, combined with high academic achievement. The award is in memory of Regina Sanchez-Porter, PhD, RN, who was an esteemed member of the school’s leadership team from 1986 through 1991.
“Barbara’s persistence in pursuing her educational goals, commitment to lifelong learning and dedication to quality nursing care for one of our most vulnerable populations exemplify the service to the community and profession for which Regina Sanchez-Porter was known,” noted Dr. Lia van Rijswijk, associate dean of Undergraduate Nursing Programs at the school.
As a student, Blair said that she valued the collaboration she found through the school’s online Discussion Board assignments and liked the structure of her online courses.
“The course Discussion Boards allowed me to interact with professional colleagues across several nursing disciplines as well as nurse mentors in a positive and informative way. Our exchanges set the tone for the students and instructional staff to maintain open communication,” she noted. “Learning from fellow nursing students delivers a wider range of knowledge that benefits everyone. The course structure and curriculum offer a variety of material that helped maintain my interest and prepared me for further study.”
According to Blair, success in her profession relies largely on the right mindset.
“I’ve found that, when one has the desire to learn and enjoys what they do, their success is inevitable. My position encompasses many areas of nursing practice and my passion for learning allows me to grow professionally. My most gratifying moments are in witnessing positive patient outcomes resulting from my efforts. Those efforts not only lead to successful treatment, but they help in our patients’ long-term recovery and can restore the quality of their lives.”
As a nursing director, Blair’s hours can be long and exhaustive, often extending to her off hours.
“Without the flexibility of online learning at TESU and the helpfulness and support of the TESU staff and advisors, I probably could never have completed my BSN degree,” she noted.
As in most facets of the profession, she noted that the long-term care environment is changing, with healthcare staff tending to an increasingly older patient demographic who need a higher level of care, vigilance and personal support.
“Although I have worked in a predominantly long-term care environment, I’m seeing an expanding demand for subacute patient care and a surge in acuity levels in senior living environments. What was once the standard delivery of care is now far more complex and demanding.”
Blair was born in Trenton, N.J., and raised in neighboring Pennsylvania. She attended Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, Pa., and worked for General Motors Corporation in Trenton for 17 years before earning her ASN degree from Mercer County Community College. She is the mother of three adult sons: Frank and Chris who are both engineers, and Kevin, an accountant. She describes them as ‘the light of my life’ and maintains a close connection with her siblings.
To learn more about the programs available in the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing and Health Professions, visit tesu.edu/nursing. To learn more about the Regina Sanchez-Porter Award, visit tesu.edu/nursing/students/regina-sanchez-porter-award.