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SEEME SOAR: Celebrating Women Over 50: Ammie Barrett, Nurse Practitioner & Activist
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SEEME SOAR: Celebrating Women Over 50: Ammie Barrett, Nurse Practitioner & Activist

Oct 26th 2020

SEEME SOAR: Celebrating Women Over 50: Ammie Barrett, Nurse Practitioner & Activist

In our quest to find and celebrate remarkable women doing remarkable things in their 50’s and beyond, we were introduced to Ammie Barrett. Instead of basking in her empty nest, Ammie has taken life by the horns.

“Seek you first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness, and everything else will come.”

Who: Ammie Barrett - Spiritual Healer, Cancer Survivor, and Passionate Advocate for Medical Access Equality.

Age: fabulous over 60

How does the famous line from Beaches: “The wind beneath my wings” impact your SOAR story? Looking back at my childhood in Hempstead, from a young age my parents emphasized the importance of service to our community. They instilled that service to our neighbors was an expression of how we live in God’s image. People must have felt the love in my mother’s recipes as they came from miles away, just to buy her pies. Growing up alongside my devoted parents and 4 siblings with our deep faith, my family became the “wind under my right wing”.

It is that familial root system of beliefs that prepared me for finding the “wind under my left wing”: my husband and true soulmate, Mason. To date, God has blessed us with 42 years of marriage, three amazing children, AND seven grandchildren that I swear were made from sugar straight from our Lord.

It is only with both wings holding me up that I am able to SOAR, and it is my faith in God that keeps me moving in the sky.

Graduate School over 50? Why Not? While it may seem out of reach for some, getting a degree over the age of 50 seems pretty normal to me—or at least I believe it should be! I have always embraced challenges; and knowing I had both my wings on my side provided the wind. It was in this fabulous decade that I went after my calling to service. I earned my MS in Nursing, then went on to become certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner (NP) with a specialty in Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic illness that needs to be understood both by the patient and their care team and takes communication on my part to educate them on how to manage their illness so as to live life to the fullest possible. Currently, I am honored to work at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Birmingham, AL. Here, I collaborate with physicians, nurses, and other NPs providing desperately needed medical care to the true heroes of our country, our veterans.

Working with veterans is a true honor, and for me the ultimate way to thank them for their selfless service to our country. In my role, I am blessed with the opportunity to use my experience and knowledge for inpatient diabetic teaching. Empowering veterans with the knowledge on how to control their glycemic levels is my goal for both in- and out-patients. Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic illness that needs to be understood both by the patient and their care team and takes communication on my part to educate them on how to manage their illness so as to live life to the fullest they can. Drawing from my deep faith, I believe that every patient I encounter was placed in my path intentionally.

Almost Derailed? Endometrial Cancer Diagnosis: When you think of SOARing, you may assume a cancer diagnosis would cause you to fall mid-flight. And while my battle with endometrial cancer was certainly the greatest I’ve fought so far in my life, my right (parents & siblings) and left (husband & children) wings were what kept me moving. It was their love and my faith that kept me moving forward and eventually I overcame. While it may be difficult to keep faith in God when times get tough, I believe that God wants you to trust in him in every aspect of your life—certainly the good, but especially the bad. With everything I have experienced in life, I tell others to never assume you have another day: love the fullest for tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Wow, we are amazed at your strength and how you’ve used your experiences to help others. What’s next? Honestly, this is a very heavy subject for me. My career in healthcare has exposed me to the desperate situation too many people experience every day: the diversity in access to healthcare. Sadly, lives are lost in this country every day simply because they don’t have the financial means to get medical attention. Even worse, people of color carry this unfair burden disproportionally—because of socioeconomic status. It hurts because we live in the richest nation in the world, but we still allow disparities like this to exist.

Rather than let circumstances continue, I use the wings I was blessed with to fight back—by voting and encouraging everyone else around me to vote.

Do you have any final words of comfort for fabulous women over 50? As I’ve mentioned, my faith in God—trusting him in the good and bad is what works for me. But, like any human, I know I am infallible. So, don’t let your stumbles or challenges derail you from the path you are here to follow. In that vein, I say this prayer often:

Dear God: I know that I am not perfect. I know sometimes I forget to pray. There have been times I have questioned my faith, but thank you for continuing to love me unconditionally and giving me another day to try again. 

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