Introducing Betty Long.
Betty Long is committed to helping people get the care they deserve, despite the current overhaul of the healthcare system. Long founded–and is now the president of–Guardian Nurse Healthcare Advocates in 2003. The communications alumna said she had every intention of becoming a sports writer. Long decided to pursue nursing when her mom died of cancer.
She said she was inspired by the care and attention her mother received from nurses during her four-month battle. Long said she wants to give this same care and attention to others that her mother received.
After graduating from Temple, Long went on to attend Abington Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, and then to get her master’s in health administration from St. Joseph’s University. She leads a team of nurses on a mission to give people the care they deserve, through making things simpler to understand.
Long was recently honored by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of their 2011 Women of Distinction award winners. Each year the publication honors dynamic women in the Philadelphia region who are leading in their fields. The Temple News spoke with Long about nursing, her distinction and the current healthcare situation.
The Temple News: How did you transition from communications to nursing?
Betty Long: While at Temple I was working at the Philadelphia Inquirer about 26 hours a week. My mom had been working at the Inquirer as well. During her journey I met the nurses who interacted with my mother. The way the nurses interacted with us was very encouraging, and made a significant impact on my decision to pursue nursing.
TTN: What do you think about the healthcare system?
BL: The healthcare system is a mess and not for the faint of heart. You don’t really know what is going on there is no how-to book. It’s scary. [Just as] you would not consider entering the legal system without a lawyer, you don’t enter the healthcare system without an advocate. Guardian Nurses’ goal is to be an advocate in the mist of the healthcare confusion.
TTN: Tell us about the meaning of your motto “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?
BL: I think growing up in the family that I did, my mom and dad were very accepting people. We had a big family. I was the baby, the sixth child. My mom told us to treat people as you would like to be treated. Don’t be mean, think about the other people. I think it comes from the training from my mom and dad, which is pretty simple these days. That helps fuel my compassion. Because I deal with people whose lives are changing.
TTN: What inspires you?
BL: Everyday it’s the patients that we interact with, my role in patient’s lives. I don’t mean to sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. We meet the patients at a crossroads, we want to be able to help them slow down a little bit, and educate them on what their options are. Things come at you right and left and you don’t know what they mean. They feel like they have someone who is there-by-there side. This can be very empowering to them. We just want to make it a little easier for the person, to have a better experience.
TTN: What has been your greatest challenge?
BL: The greatest personal challenge is to be a businessperson while being a nurse. I think the greatest is personal–the patient has the right of personal determination. Even if I think they are not making the best decision, it is still their decision. We have 11 nurses and a social worker. When we work with people, they normally have heath insurance. All the nurses have 20 years of experience.
TTN: What is some advice you would give to a college student who is preparing to enter the career world?
BL: I would do what you have to do to make a living, but always work towards that dream. I think it’s hard at such a young age to know what you want to do. I think it’s important to like what you want to do. There are a lot of people who want to snuff out your fire. I think a lot of people don’t want to think outside of the box, and it’s important to be able to do this.
Priscilla Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.