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Terry Collins/University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Little Rock native Terry Collins has made a career out of her calling.

Collins, 64, fell in love with the fast-paced world of trauma care and has dedicated herself to improving trauma care treatment in central Arkansas.

In the early 1990s, Collins joined a small group of stakeholders to lead the call for a trauma system in the state. The legislation the group helped inspire lacked funding for implementation.

"Not to be discouraged, this passionate group persisted and obtained legislation with funding to develop a trauma system for our state," Collins said. "This work has brought the attention of the national trauma community to Arkansas. In 2015, research demonstrated our preventable mortality from trauma had been reduced from 30 percent to 16 percent."

Collins serves as the trauma program director for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She's responsible for the organization or services and systems required to provide care to injured patients.

That includes educational, clinical, research, administrative and outreach duties.

"To be a part of a profession focused on helping others regardless of circumstance could not be more fulfilling," she said. "As a trauma certified registered nurse and the director of trauma services at a Level 1 Trauma Center, I have the opportunity to see the positive impact we have on severely injured patients.

"Trauma is unpredictable and challenging. This job requires constant training and education, however, the challenges and rewards of this life long journey are abundant."

Reflecting on the challenges associated with her job, Collins thinks about the impact patients have on her team and the emotional weight each of her coworkers must carry. The work is intense, she said, and her job often expands to include the roles of confidant, friend and therapist.

"I find the most rewarding part of my profession is making a difference in the lives of people on the worst day of their life," Collins said. "The men and women who are trauma physicians, trauma nurses, and trauma support personnel are a unique group of caregivers. To join this fraternity, an individual must possess our shared feelings of benevolence, purpose and determination."


Number of Level 1 Trauma Centers in Arkansas (UAMS)


Percent of preventable mortality from trauma in the state


Years Collins has worked at UAMS

"I did not choose to become a health care professional; instead, trauma nursing chose me. My career has always been a calling and a privilege."

- Terry Collins

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Title Annotation:NURSE OF THE YEAR
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Apr 15, 2019
Previous Article:Jordan Chaney: North Arkansas Regional Medical Center--Hospice of the Hills.
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