In college, Rebecca (Becky) Barkey, MSN, PNNP (perinatal nurse practitioner), contemplated nursing and medicine. Once she weighed the time involved with each pursuit and her goals to have a family, nursing became a clear and exciting choice. Becky enjoys the work/life balance that nursing offers. When her two daughters were younger, Becky was able to work a 75% full-time equivalency schedule, fulfilling her career goals and allowing her to spend time with her daughters. Now that her girls are in college, she works a full-time shift doing what she loves.
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Becky shared that her approach to work and life filters through the lens of her life purpose. Everything she does comes back to two things: love God and love others. Her life's purpose can look different on different days, but it is the motivation that gets her out of bed every morning. The advice she gives to anyone interested in working in healthcare is “always rely on your life's purpose to guide you.” Becky feels that the Bible verse Micah 6:8 encompasses her life purpose: “Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly….”
On the maternal-fetal medicine team, encountering unique and challenging cases is part of the job. It can be most difficult when you care for a mom whose ultrasound shows a fatal diagnosis for the baby. In cases like this, the mother may stay pregnant for many weeks, with no expectation that the baby will live. Becky's very close friend went through this type of loss after delivering her daughter, Pearl. The baby lived for 20 minutes after she was born. Through supporting her dear friend, they realized there was a lack of perinatal hospice care for families with a fatal diagnosis. With Becky's help, Pearl's mother started String of Pearls.
"It has been an honor to stand with and work beside families going through such an unimaginable time," said Becky. The organization started locally in Denver and has now expanded worldwide. They receive several emails a week from families going through fatal diagnoses and difficulties in their pregnancies. Becky has become lifelong friends with several local families she has worked with through this exceptional organization and believes it is a great way to honor babies whose lives were short yet meaningful.
An Outstanding Team
Becky’s team is extremely close-knit. Of the fully staffed team, six are office-based, and 11 work in Denver regional hospitals: Presbyterian/St Luke’s Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center and Swedish Medical Center. Their team also includes maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialists and OB hospitalists. Having worked on this team for many years, Becky knows the physicians give full support to the advanced practice team and are committed to knowledge sharing and a collegiate environment. Continuous communication has become even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. With COVID-19 restrictions, the group holds "Zoom at Noon" on a regular basis to stay connected.
Mentorship and Opportunity
Becky chose to partner with Mednax due to their innovative approach to medicine. Nationally, there is collaboration and forums for communication among different specialties. As a perinatal nurse practitioner, Becky is viewed as an extension of an MFM physician. While at the hospital, she often gets questions from the OB hospitalists. They joke that the general OB doctors will not do anything without the nurse practitioner’s permission!
A few years ago, William Stettler, M.D., Practice Medical Director, appointed her as the lead nurse practitioner. Becky values her relationship with Dr. Stettler, who she says “is a strong leader that can read her mood from across a room and offers support through any scenario.” Becky also appreciates the mentorship of Richard Porreco, M.D., her teacher in school and her first mentor at the company. Dr. Porreco was an advocate for the PNNP program, which was replaced in 2001 with an expanded program that provides a women’s health degree to those with experience in high-risk obstetrics. The practice regularly invites those that qualify to participate in orientation and further training.
Becky’s career experience has been tremendous, and she anticipates working for a long time. "Working for a practice that values the role of the nurse practitioner, both current and future, has been rewarding and fulfilling," says Becky. She plans to continue nurturing talented nurse practitioners for many years to come.
See why Becky chose to work with Mednax. Browse our opportunities below.