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Texas Health Harris Methodist Stephenville Nurse Finds New Hobby Through Love of Horses|
Note: This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of Erath County Living.
Pam Baker, R.N., brings a sense of family and fun to everything she does. When she’s not busy in her role as a nurse at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, or spending time with her family, Baker often can be found with her horse, Wendy.
Two years ago, Baker took up Cowboy Mounted Shooting, one of the fastest growing equestrian sports in the nation. Cowboy Mounted Shooting contestants compete in timed-action events. The event involves riding a horse while shooting balloons with a .45 caliber single action revolver loaded with blank ammunition. It’s a multitasking sport.
"When I first saw the sport demonstrated in Fort Worth, I decided I had to do it," Baker said. "It looked like a blast.”
Baker says she enjoys the horses, the guns, the speed and all the other cowboys and cowgirls. "It is a very friendly bunch of people," she said.
Baker and Wendy, a 7-year-old appaloosa mare she raised from foal, are determined to work harder and make some strides this year.
That sense of hard work and determination is clear in everything Baker does.
“Pam is a wonderful team player and a great asset to the patients at Texas Health Stephenville,” said Christopher Leu, hospital president. “We are always thrilled to see our employees engaged in the community and pursuing their passions outside of work.”
Baker joined Texas Health Stephenville four years ago — though she’s been a nurse for 28 years. She works in the hospital's medical surgical department.
“I love patient care and I love being at the bedside,” Baker said. “I just like to nurture people.”
And Baker said she feels that co-workers nurture back as well. When her son spent a year in Afghanistan, a difficult time for her, she drew off the strength of her hospital friends. “This is a second family,” she recalled. “They took such good care of me.”
That’s in part because Baker is always one of the first to care for others, said Ilda Martinez, RNC, medical surgical unit director at Texas Health Stephenville.
“She’s been a breath of fresh air,” Martinez said. “She provides total patient care from education to clinical skills to discharge planning. She has a very quick wit about her which helps in a fast-paced area.”
Baker is quick to go above and beyond caring for her patients whether it’s securing a special movie or providing an extra dose of information to make their time at the hospital more pleasant, Martinez said.
Baker, a mother of two who has been married to her soul mate for 27 years, says that she’s always loved riding horses and was looking for a new outlet for that interest when she found Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Martinez lovingly classifies her as a “pistol-packing mama.”
That the sport combined her interest in riding horses and shooting guns was an added attraction. “That makes it double fun,” Baker said.
Throughout her life, whether it’s working a shift treating patients at the hospital or while practicing on her horse, “I’ve been blessed with the amount of knowledge I’ve acquired and the people that have the patience to teach me different things,” Baker said.
And even better, she said, she sometimes can combine her love of nursing and the sport. “I do share with patients if I can tell they’re outdoorsy, horse people,” she said.”They think it’s pretty funny that their nurse does that in her free time.”