Daniel Ampomah, Ph.D., RN, NE-BC, is a faculty instructor at Chamberlain College of Nursing in Arlington, Va. and the chief executive officer of Ghana Nursing and Health Center. Dr. Ampomah received the 2015 DC/Maryland/Virginia Nurse.com GEM Award of Excellence in Volunteerism and Service.
Q. What surprised you the most about the nursing profession?
A. Nursing actually wasn’t my first career path. When I arrived to the U.S. from Ghana, I changed course. My brother was going through some difficult health issues, and the people who made his life better were the nurses. I had a change of heart because of the compassion and care that I saw nurses bringing to the table. In nursing school, I thought bedside nursing was the only option available as a career trajectory for nursing. To my surprise, nursing is a huge and a diversified profession. You can aspire to be whatever you want to be. Opportunities for growth are found in areas such as: academia, law, forensic nursing, anesthesia, holistic nursing, case management, nurse executives, lobbyist and the list goes on and on.
Q. We know you do a lot of work with the Ghanaian population residing in Northern Virginia. What is your favorite aspect of your work in the community?
A. I host a health segment on a local radio station called, “Your Health is Wealth” that addresses health issues in the community. My favorite aspect is just getting into the studios of Ghana Tourist Coach Radio in Alexandria, Va. every Sunday afternoon and disseminating health-related information to my community. More than 7,000 people listen to my radio broadcast where I discuss prevalent health issues in that community, such as hypertension and diabetes. It is so fulfilling when people call and seek answers to questions that bother them!
Q. Looking ahead to the future of healthcare, why do you think participating in service and volunteerism is important?
A. The future of healthcare is about bringing healthcare to the doorstep of the community. Therefore, participating in service and volunteerism is important because it is the vehicle through which communities can confidently access health related information. Furthermore, it allows the volunteer to connect directly to the community and thus make it a better place. As a nurse, it affords me the opportunity to gain experience and also to meet people and learn from others.
Q. Why is it important for all nurses (regardless of specialty) to embrace giving back to the community?
A. Nursing is a caring profession that offers me an opportunity to place my skills, talents and knowledge at the disposal of my community. All nurses, regardless of their specialty, have a unique responsibility of showing gratitude to their community by selflessly giving their caring hearts back to the community by way of volunteerism. I think it is not so much an act of generosity as a responsibility. The role of the nurse is to serve as the central custodian of community care. Nurses serve the community by providing health and wellness education and immediate care services, promote disease prevention and facilitate disease management.