Audrey (Karcher) Spivey graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Baylor University in 2018. While in college, she was involved with the Delta Delta Delta Sorority and volunteered as a nurse in the NICU.
Audrey’s father, Colonel Tim Karcher’s (Ret.), first injury was a gunshot wound to the left shoulder while serving in Iraq. Later he was critically injured during his third tour of duty in Iraq when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED), resulting in bilateral transfemoral leg amputation. He went on to serve in various employment within the US Army and retired as a Colonel after serving nearly 26 years in the military.
Today, Audrey is working in a Level IV NICU at Baylor Scott & White - McLane Children's Hospital in Temple, TX. She is also attending Texas Tech University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner (DNP - FNP) program with plans to start practicing as a nurse practitioner when she graduates in August 2023.
Audrey says, “When I first received my NGS scholarship in 2009, while my dad was fighting for his life at Walter Reed Medical Center, I did not realize the impact that NGS would have on my life. I not only received a scholarship that allowed me to go to my dream school, Baylor, but I received a support system that could not be matched. I had people, aside from my family, that stood behind me every step of the way to encourage, support, and advocate for me.
“To me, NGS was so much greater than just a scholarship, it became a family of supporters who wanted nothing more than to see me succeed and live out my dreams of becoming a NICU Nurse.
“To all of the people who support and/or donate to NGS, thank you will never be enough. You all have given the children of many wounded and fallen soldiers the opportunity to live out their dreams and pursue a higher education, and without you, this organization would not be what it is!”
When we caught up with her and asked her about COVID-19, she said, “COVID has had a pretty significant effect on my daily and work life. Work wise- being a NICU nurse, we center a lot of our care around our patients' family, and this virus has made that pretty difficult. We have had to limit our visitors to only our patient's parents, and they have to take turns coming to see their babies. During one of the scariest times for the parents, the healthcare workers have to be even more of a support system for the parents, since they can't have their support system there with them. We have a lot of parents who are not only scared because their baby is in the NICU possibly fighting for their life, but now scared because there is a virus that we don't know a ton about.
“Outside of work I have to make sure I am following the guidelines and doing everything to protect myself since I work with one of the most vulnerable populations. We tirelessly spend months saving some of these babies, and I can't even imagine how awful it would be to introduce them to a virus that their immune system might not be strong enough to fight off.
Social distancing has been really tough for my personal life as well. I have to think about the fact that it is not only just about me, and I have others in my life that could be fatally affected by COVID. Not only do I work in the hospital, but my husband is also a firefighter, so we have to be mindful of the fact that every time we both go to work, we could be exposed just from walking into work. I have been staying home during this shelter in place to protect those I love and those I spend so much time caring for at work.”