Nurse Nergis Blood Follows the Call to Care Back to JPS

June 29th, 2018

JPS Health Network Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse Nergis Blood has always been a person determined to follow her calling to help those in need of care.

Nurse Nergis Blood prepares a patient for an operation

Nurse Nergis Blood prepares a patient for an operation

Three years ago, as she sat in church on a Sunday morning, Blood suddenly felt compelled to give up the career at JPS she loved to instead volunteer her time and expertise on a Mercy Hospital ship off the coast of Madagascar. It was a spiritually fulfilling -- but physically draining --experience during which she was able to be a part of a team that helped hundreds of people with nowhere else to turn for care.

Her mission abroad completed, Blood decided it was time to come back home. In May, she rejoined the team at JPS.

“This is a wonderful place to work and I am happy to be back,” Blood said. ”The professionals at JPS have respect for each other’s specialty and work together wonderfully. That’s not always the case at other places. The nursing staff is excellent, they’re very patient oriented and provide excellent care. It’s wonderful to be part of this team.”

She was away from JPS nearly three years and Blood said she’s a little bit surprised that people remember her so well. She credits her surname, which seems appropriate for a wound care nurse. But her colleagues say the 2014 D Magazine Excellence in Nursing Award winner is actually remembered for her teamwork, skill and mentorship, not because she's a nurse named Blood.

Caring for others has always been a part of Blood’s life. A native of Germany, she was raised by a father who worked as a surgeon and a mother who served as a nurse. She helped out in the clinic her parents ran beginning when she was 11 years old, starting out taking the blood pressure of patients and adding different skills along the way. Blood came to America in 1994 and married an American soldier who brought her to Texas. She thought she would never leave.

“We were very happy with our lives (in Fort Worth,)” Blood said. “I cried and cried when I decided I needed to go to the hospital ship because I wished I could stay. But I felt God was calling me and when God calls, I have to listen.”

On the hospital ship, Blood encountered many female patients who suffered tremendously from things that would have easily been taken care of in the United States. Some of the women had incontinence due to unassisted child birth. In their society, that caused the ladies to be shunned and humiliated. Surgeons on the ship were able to help those women – and countless other patients with a wide range of health issues – to get their lives back.

She’s followed her calling to provide medical care on four continents, Europe, Asia, North America and Africa. Finally, Blood believes she is ready to settle down. She was hired last month in a seasonal position after approaching JPS leaders about her interest in returning.

During her first stint at the health network, Blood helped to establish a Skin Wound Assessment Team – or SWAT -- which eventually grew to include 65 members. In 2013, the health network started an outpatient wound clinic and Blood was asked to help establish it in the role of Wound Care Coordinator.

JPS Vice President for Patient Care Trudy Sanders said some faces may have changed since Blood’s last stop at JPS. But that has been no obstacle.

“She’s an excellent resource for the nursing staff,” Sanders said of Blood. “She has many years of valuable experience and we’re glad she’s sharing it with us.”

She’s worked all over the world and Blood said JPS has been one of the most rewarding places she has had the opportunity to share her skills.

“There are a lot of patients here and a lot of surgeries,” Blood said. “So there are a lot of wounds to be cared for. Some of the faces have changed over the years. But the compassion and dedication are still the same. It’s an amazing place to work.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Blood or her adventures in Madagascar, she’ll be giving a Power Point presentation during the SWAT meeting at 8:30 a.m. July 19 in the Radiology conference room on the first floor of the main hospital.

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