Imagine having a front row seat to the emergence of groundbreaking treatment, technology and research for individuals recovering from stroke and traumatic brain injury.
Retired nurse and donor Marilyn Baker not only witnessed critical developments but helped usher in new programming and protocols during her 30-plus years at Madonna.
Inspired by a beloved aunt who was a nurse, Marilyn entered Lincoln General Hospital School of Nursing at age 17. After graduating in 1960, Marilyn cared for medical/surgical patients at Lincoln General Hospital for five years. In 1966, she joined the nursing staff at Bryan where she worked as a psychiatric nurse. When she began her nursing career at Madonna in 1980, she was approached about working in the stroke unit.
"I thought that the stroke unit sounded very interesting," she recalls. She believes that her experience in psychiatric nursing and her understanding of the brain helped her in working with patients with neurological conditions.
Marilyn holds the distinction of being Madonna's first Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN). The CRRN designation represents a high degree of specialization in the field of rehabilitation nursing. Currently, there are 36 nurses with CRRN certification at Madonna.
During her career at Madonna, Marilyn also earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She understands the balancing act that many young people face earning a degree while working full time. Her last years before retirement were spent using her nursing knowledge as a case manager at Madonna.
"Nursing is a very rewarding career," Marilyn said. "You not only get to work closely with patients, but with their families as well. You are part of a team working toward the best possible outcomes."
While Marilyn has planned an estate gift to Madonna, she feels strongly about being able to see the benefits of giving while one is still living. That's one of the reasons she invested in Madonna's Brain Initiative campaign a few years ago. Reflecting on her experience of helping patients rebuild their lives following stroke and traumatic brain injury, the campaign's focus on technology and research to help neurological conditions was appealing to her.
"It is exciting to see the progress and how support can make a difference."