At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community who are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality healthcare to underserved and rural populations.
For Frontier Nursing University (FNU) student Chantel Haynes, advocacy has always been a critical part of her journey and career in healthcare. A resident of Sedalia, Missouri, Haynes has been a staunch advocate for informed choice and autonomy among birthing people, Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), and for acceptable working conditions among nurses and healthcare providers.
“I have found that advocacy is an essential part of birth work and nursing care,” she said.
Haynes is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing in Nurse-Midwifery and is on track to graduate in 2024. She also works as a PRN nurse with a freestanding birth center in Kansas and a substance abuse clinic in Missouri. Throughout her career in nursing, Haynes has worked as a doula, LDRPN nurse and birth center nurse.
Advocating for Nurses and Better Care
Before becoming a PRN nurse, Haynes served as an acute bedside nurse in a hospital setting for 12 years. After she left this position in March 2022, she heightened her advocacy work for better acute care through safe staffing ratios, safe work environments, and adequate pay for hospital-based and long-term care nurses. She was one the speakers at the Missouri Chapter of the National Nurse March in May 2022. She also advocates through social media, letters to newspapers, and by engaging with government representatives.
“Short staffing has created a dangerous patient care environment,” she said. “This is leading to increased provider workload and stress, which is leading to a lack of access to healthcare, especially for the underserved.”
Haynes also expresses concern for dangerous practice environments for nurses and providers.
“Nurses are being subjected to high patient ratios, unsafe patient care environments, and increased abuse from patients and family members,” she said. “The number of assaults on hospital staff has risen drastically with the degrading environment. Currently, I advocate for change by using my voice and resources to call attention to these horrendous conditions and support others who don’t feel like they have a voice.”
Haynes said she has wanted to earn her MSN in Nurse-Midwifery since becoming a doula in 2001. She decided to pursue her dream through FNU after discussing the program with a co-worker who earned her MSN at FNU.
A Year of Challenges
Haynes’ path to earning her degree has not been without challenges. In August 2021, she experienced severe complications from COVID-19. She was hospitalized for four days and was on oxygen for a total of four weeks. In November of that year, she tore her ACL and gastrocnemius muscle due to decompensation from the virus. These complications set her back two terms from her initial Clinical Bound date.
Amid these struggles, Haynes said staff at FNU have helped her navigate these obstacles in her course work every step of the way.
“My RCF and advisors have been available when I need them, and we have been able to find solutions,” she said. “2021 was a year of frustration between being a bedside nurse caring for COVID patients to becoming one myself. I have found patience at Frontier.”
Haynes is a wife of 30 years, mother of four adult children and has two grandchildren. Outside of her work, studies, and advocacy, she enjoys tending to her garden, taking care of her backyard flock of chickens and ducks, crafting, crocheting, participating in church activities and volunteering in her community.
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