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Stephanie Barnes' story of growth

Stephanie Barnes

The start of something great

When Stephanie Barnes first began her nursing career, she had a goal to begin her journey at a Magnet hospital – like Duke Health. She wanted to be at a teaching hospital of the highest standard, known for quality care and nursing excellence.

In the local area, Duke Health stood out as not only the best choice, but also the only one that Stephanie could see for her future in nursing. She was so sure of this next step that she ended up only applying at Duke Health.

Headshot of Stephanie Barnes

I wanted to join an organization that supported and educated new grad nurses beyond the bedside.

Stephanie Barnes

Clinical Director for Advanced Heart Failure ServicesWith Duke since 2009

Finding the next step forward

Stephanie didn’t have a specific goal in mind at the very start of her career. But when she observed nurses in the cardiothoracic unit during nursing student rotations in South Carolina, Stephanie knew she found her calling. So, she followed in their footsteps, becoming a nurse on 3300, a cardiothoracic stepdown unit at Duke University Hospital, after joining us in 2009.

This position allowed Stephanie to follow a desire to continue learning and her passion of working with high-acuity advanced heart failure patients, which would continue throughout her career.

Stephanie took advantage early on of the many growth opportunities Duke Health makes available to its nurses. She set forth an individualized plan to meet her goals with Duke Health’s Nursing Career Ladder, which helps enhance skills and career progression for nurses. Within a year and a half, she had advanced from her starting position of Clinical Nurse I to Clinical Nurse III with a personalized plan to help her meet her aspirations. Stephanie then attended graduate school and became a Nurse Practitioner, while working full time at Duke Health.

Seeking out new experiences

Stephanie then spent two years away from Duke Health but couldn’t stay away for long – returning for largely the same reasons as what attracted her in the first place. At Duke Health, she knew her passions for delivering compassionate care and life-long learning would be encouraged and supported.

During her time at Duke Health, Stephanie has utilized the tuition assistance program many times to broaden her knowledge base across different areas of study. Not only does this type of support enable her to grow her career, it also ensures that she is able to learn and provide the most up-to-date care for heart failure patients and their loved ones.

By 2016, Stephanie was practicing as a Nurse Practitioner with the Division of Cardiology at Duke University Hospital. She quickly advanced in this role and went on to become a team leader for the inpatient Cardiology Advanced Practice Providers.

Most recently, Stephanie has earned a new title: Clinical Director for Advanced Heart Failure Services. This promotion is the hard-earned result of her relentless drive and years of dedication to the care of advanced heart failure patients. In this new role, no longer at the bedside full time, she brings meaningful impact to patients, team members, and programs through an administrative angle.

Thanks to her years of direct patient experience, Stephanie better understands day-to-day clinical challenges. Now, she can resolve issues at a larger scale, engage with the care team, and offer thought leadership within the department.

Headshot of Stephanie Barnes

Why I came to Duke is the same reason why I'm staying.  It's because of the support they have for nursing growth and education.

Stephanie Barnes

Clinical Director for Advanced Heart Failure ServicesWith Duke since 2009

The best is yet to come

Stephanie is currently working toward her doctorate at Duke’s School of Nursing. What does Stephanie think will come next? She’s not sure what exactly the future holds, but one thing is certain: she never wants to stop learning at Duke.

Another thing she’s confident about? That she wants to continue her career at Duke Health. After receiving so much support for her passions and educational pursuits, Stephanie knows she can keep finding fulfillment here. And we can’t wait to watch her impact continue to grow.

Does Stephanie’s story resonate with you?

Duke Heart is ranked as one of the top heart programs in the nation. Explore your own career in heart services with Duke Health. 

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