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“Every nurse was drawn to nursing because of a desire to care, to serve, to help”- Christina Feist-Heilmeier, RN
Mrs. Ingrid Porter prefers to shine attention on others and deflect from herself but hers is a story of a country girl, raised in a close-knit village on the West Coast of Berbice, who, despite having travelled the world educating and taking care of others, is not too busy for those she cared about and recounting family anecdotes.
When she and her family left Guyana in the 1980s for the United States (U.S), she was a teacher/educator not a nurse. Fate or fortune would intervene not only to make her change her profession but brought her full circle to her first love- teaching. According to Ingrid she needed to take care of her family without having to entrust them to others and the flexible schedule of nursing allowed for this. Nursing proved to be the career that not only allowed her to streamline her life where her family remained centre but took her around the world caring for the sick, educating others how to, and shaping policies to ensure proper care.
Ingrid’s first job as staff nurse was at the St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1996 she took up a position as Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist. Oncology is a field that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In 1997 she was appointed Manager of Oncology Nursing, Clinical even as she worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, positions she held until 2006. Later that year she was made an offer to work in the Middle East. She accepted and was employed as an Oncology Nurse Consultant at Saad Hospital in Saudi Arabia.
Promotional opportunities came knocking again. In 2007 Ingrid was hired as Director of Oncology Nursing at King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Dammam, Saudi Arabia where she stayed until 2017. During this stint she helped develop an Oncology Nursing Education Curriculum for Saudi Arabia. She also worked as Senior Education Advisor at ARAMCO Hospital where she taught Oncology Care, Palliative Care, and Customer Service to Physicians, Nurses, Managers, and all staffing levels. Palliative Care is specialised care for people living with serious illness.
Ingrid left Saudi Arabia and returned to the U.S in 2017. Who knows what is next on her professional plate? For now, she travels between Georgia and Guyana still doing what she loves- nursing, teaching, cooking and attending to family and friends.
1990- Bachelor’s in Nursing
1992-Oncology Certified Nurse
1996-Master’s of Science Degree in Adult Health.
Ingrid is also an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse and International Certified Palliative Care Trainer.
She loves cooking
Families and friends would attest that for the Memorial Day holiday weekend when Guyanese see Georgia as the place to be Ingrid would host many. She loves cooking in her gourmet kitchen and is unafraid to experiment with foods from different cultures. For her cooking “is like praying….it must be done, and it appears to help others.” Cooking is “just a part of [her] holistic health care and practice.” Ingrid said she also cooks because she likes “certain flavors” and has “a knack for knowing what will taste good together.”
Cooking well and healthfully for her means knowing what she puts in her body, and the difference in being well and being sick because she dislikes being sick with passion. Hers is the knack to taste food for the first time and could almost, with precision, tell what the ingredients are. Most, if not all, of her meals are made from scratch. She labours over her preparations with studiousness, ever mindful of the ingredients she uses having a positive impact on health and wellness.