Nurse Practitioner Barbara Harty wins excellence in nursing award

Barbara Harty found in geriatrics, the perfect career. 

"My grandmother helped raise me and I always had a special affection for older people," said Harty, Nurse Practitioner and Assistant Professor of Medicine. "I just really like working with them, hearing their stories and trying to improve their quality of life."

Harty visits about 200 patients in area assisted living and nursing homes. She also teaches medical students how to work with older adults and conducts research on cognitive impairment.

D Magazine recently recognized Harty by presenting her with its Excellence in Nursing Award in geriatrics. She was one of 24 North Texas nurses, out of 456 nominations, who received the award at a ceremony in Dallas.

Harty said UNT Health Science Center has given her the opportunity to wear many different hats. As an assistant professor, she encourages medical students to consider specializing in geriatrics.

"One of the advantages for health providers specializing in geriatrics is that they are able to see the same patients over and over and then develop relationships with them," she said.

As a clinical research coordinator for pharmaceutical trials, Harty said it has been rewarding to be involved in studies on dementia that could one day benefit the patients she sees.

Harty’s interest in geriatrics extends beyond her work. She is a frequent speaker for the Alzheimer’s Association and teaches support groups about coping with dementia.

"I try to make people as comfortable as possible as long as I can," she said. "Then when the time comes, I try to help families say good-bye."

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