I Am WMC: Melody Bowar, R.N., Stroke program coordinator
May 6, 2021
Melody Bowar credits two influences for her career in nursing: First, her grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s, lived with her family since Melody was born. Melody grew up watching her mother take care of her, witnessing both the extreme challenges and the tenderest of moments.
Second, one of Melody’s close family members was a nurse. “And whenever anyone was sick, we called her. She always made everything better,” said Melody, a registered nurse and coordinator of our Stroke Program.
In a way, her career started when she was still a highschooler in Gillette. She earned her Certified Nursing Assistant license at 16, working nights and summers on the Alzheimer’s unit at the local nursing home. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Dickinson, N.D. She first imagined that she would work her way up to an Intensive Care Unit, caring for what may be a hospital’s sickest, most complex patients. But, in 2008, Wyoming Medical Center hired her to work on our Neuro Unit, and she’s been there ever since.
“I just fell in love with neuro patients,” she said. “A lot of times, these are patients who cannot advocate for themselves, so we have to advocate for them. You also have the opportunity to see huge improvements in patients, because many are on the unit for a long time. It’s really gratifying when you get to see a patient improve,” she said.
Melody has been the stroke program coordinator since 2013, and the credentials in her official title look a little like alphabet soup: Melody Bowar, BSN, RN, SCRN, CNRN. (For the uninitiated, that stands for Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, Registered Nurse, Stroke Certified Registered Nurse and Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse.) As stroke coordinator, Melody tracks every stroke patient who comes into WMC and collects data at every point in their stay. She tracks how long it takes to get stroke patients to the CT scanner, how long until they are treated with clot-busting medication, how well they improve after treatment and a hundred other data points along the path of care. All that data is compiled, analyzed and measured against national benchmarks to help Wyoming Medical Center improve patient care for every stroke patient who comes through our doors.
“We have an amazing stroke team that is really dedicated to patient care and improving outcomes. We are the state’s first Primary Stroke Center to be certified by the Joint Commission, and since 2015 we’ve earned the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association’s highest honors every year,” Melody said. “We are a small town, and we’re treating our community and our neighbors. I think our metrics and performance are as good, and in some cases better, than the larger stroke centers around the country.
“I think Wyoming Medical Center is a great place to work. I’ve grown up at this hospital – from a baby nurse to where I am now – and I’ve learned so much. I get to collaborate with almost every department and I get to see how great this entire team is.”