Capstone College of Nursing graduate Newton Tinsley is back in school working to add credentials to the RN which already follows his name. He has a passion for nursing and like many other nurses, wants to increase his knowledge and responsibility in the field.
“My aunt who is an RN inspired me to consider nursing. A caring anesthesiologist who reassured us during my sister’s surgery many years ago helped me focus on becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist,” said Tinsley. He enjoys the interaction between nurse anesthetists and their patients. Being the link for patients and their families throughout the surgical process is what appeals to him most.
In his final year of CRNA school, his work days consist of long clinical shifts in the operating room. There he sharpens his skills, learning the nuances of interviewing patients during the pre-operative process, administering anesthesia, monitoring patients during the procedure and following up in the recovery room. His off days are filled with up to eight hours of studying. Though it is a stress-filled time, he is confident that the hard work will benefit himself and his patients.
Tinsley looked for a powerful stress reliever to counteract the pressures of such an intense learning endeavor, and service seems to be in his veins. “Giving back has always been something that is important to me,” he said. Tinsley and William Gafford, a good friend and classmate, make time to volunteer at a Birmingham non-profit, Unless U. Tinsley and Gafford discovered Unless U at a school “lunch and learn” where founder and director Lindy Cleveland gave a presentation that made the organization, which provides a college-like setting for adults with developmental disabilities, sound special.
Tinsley and Gafford discovered Unless U at a school “lunch and learn” where founder and director Lindy Cleveland gave a presentation that made the organization, which provides a college-like setting for adults with developmental disabilities, sound special.
Tinsley and William Gafford, a good friend and classmate, make time to volunteer at a Birmingham non-profit, Unless U. Tinsley and Gafford discovered Unless U at a school “lunch and learn” where founder and director Lindy Cleveland gave a presentation that made the organization, which provides a college-like setting for adults with developmental disabilities, sound special.
CRNA students are encouraged to log service hours during their time at Samford University. The two showed up at Unless U on a Friday
and haven’t looked back.
Cleveland and her staff offer 50 students “the opportunity to experience all of the ‘next steps’ in life just like everyone else.” The students at Unless U choose their classes and electives, which include academics (math, reading, science, history and Bible study) and social skills, fine arts and life skills.
Life skills classes, which cover money, personal hygiene, technology and nutrition, have become a specialty of Tinsley and Gafford. They have taught students about hand-washing techniques and the importance of exercise.
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship recently named Tinsley and Gafford to their 2017–18 class of Schweitzer Fellows for their work at Unless U. They are among 16 graduate students in Alabama who will spend a year creating and carrying out service projects addressing health issues.
According to Tinsley, “At first, William and I were just hands on the ground, helping out teachers at the school. The Schweitzer Fellowship keeps us focused and goal-oriented at Unless U. We now use our nursing expertise to teach health care classes to the students.”
Cleveland said, “For almost two years now, Newton Tinsley has been volunteering at Unless U almost weekly. I can hardly put into words how exceptional he is and how vital he has been, and will continue to be, to our organization. Newton is incredibly selfless, patient, kind, dedicated and hardworking. It was truly mind-blowing to me that on his one morning off from school each week he got up early to spend time with our students.”
Tinsley said of his time at Unless U, “The moment I walk in, I can’t stop smiling. I feel like a superstar when I’m there.” He claims that he has never been the recipient of so many hugs and high fives in his life and no one ever gets too many of those. One highlight was his turn in the Compliment Chair. If anyone at Unless U has an occasion to celebrate, that person sits in a chair, everyone says one thing that they like about the honoree, and their comments are written down. Tinsley’s Compliment Chair card contains many uplifting remarks and a few funny ones, too. “You are my lifesaver!” “You are handsome!” “You are a stud and have swag!” “You are my hero!” “You are a sharp dressed man!”
For Newton Tinsley, the things that bring his life balance are family, faith and friends. His faith makes him passionate about serving others and he has found outlets for that, both on and off the clock. He plans to continue serving joyfully at Unless U when time allows and is planning an upcoming medical mission trip to Kenya.