NCTC education has led local nurse to 35-year career

by Darin Allred | Aug 16, 2013 <p> </p>

When Audi Hayes graduated from Forestburg High School in 1975, she chose what was then called Cooke County College to study nursing. Now almost 40 years later, Hayes is not only a director at North Texas Medical Center, she is also helping to train the next generation of nurses.

After receiving her Associate's degree in nursing at Cooke County College, Hayes went to work for Gainesville Memorial Hospital (now NTMC) in 1978. She also pursued and received a Bachelor's degree in nursing. That has led to a 35-year career at the hospital.

She says that the instruction she received at NCTC helped prepare her for everything she would experience in her work at the hospital.

"I had great instructors in the nursing program at NCTC," Hayes said. "They were very involved with us and committed to us to make us good nurses. They weren't trying to just get us through the program. They wanted us to be good nurses. They prepared me to go ahead and go to work and understand things more and made it easier to achieve my Bachelor's degree too. We had good clinical experience with lots of good clinical instructors and classroom instructors that were committed to us as individuals."

At NTMC, Hayes has worked in the ICU, ED, OB and medical/surgical units. She served as the director of the emergency department for six years. In that role, she received Team Health Organization acknowledgment as Regional Emergency Nurse Director of the Year in 2009.

She has also been named NTMC Director of the Year in 2007 and 2011. She currently serves as the Acute Care Nursing Director and Cardiopulmonary Director with responsibilities for intensive care, the medical/surgical nursing unit, emergency department, women's center, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and respiratory therapy department.

Hayes even taught in the LVN program at NCTC for a year in 1981. Now, she gets to work with current NCTC nursing students who do clinical rotations at the hospital.

"We love working with (NCTC nursing students) and we tell that group all the time that we are committed to making them good nurses too," she said. "I'm actually in management and do a lot of the hiring, so I'm looking at those students to see if there are future nurses for us here at the hospital. We very closely with the preceptorship during their fourth semester where they come out and work with our nurses specifically. We pick good preceptors for them because we want them to be successful and we're looking for them to want to come to work for us here."

Hayes continues to have strong roots in the Forestburg community. She has been the 4-H Club leader for 21 years, served on the school board for 16 years and is active in her church.

"I love youth and am so thankful for having the opportunity to positively influence their lives," she said. "Nursing has been a great career for me. NCTC gave me the educational opportunity that has shaped my life."

Many nurses at North Texas Medical Center received their nursing degrees from NCTC including (left to right) Jennifer Hesse, Stacie Miller, Audi Hayes and Charlene Hardin.