Tim Bristol, or “Nurse Tim,” as he is widely known, fulfills many roles. While he is indeed a registered nurse, he is also a nurse educator, a faculty member, an administrator, an informatics specialist, an internationally renowned educational consultant, and the owner of Nurse Tim, Inc., a web-based faculty development site. At his core, though, Bristol would likely describe himself more simply as a missionary. When choosing his career path, he “was looking for something [I] could take to the missions field that would be practical,” he said. Combining his call to serve underserved populations with a love for science, he was inspired to consider nursing early on.
Fast forward, and now Nurse Tim’s life is dedicated to the educationg of nurses worldwide, most notably in Haiti. And it’s not just him; his wife, Christina, and the couple’s four children, have made the trip from their home in Minnesota to Léogane, Haiti, a city completely devastated by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck in January 2010. Bristol administers hands-on care to the suffering, and he helps empower future Haitian nurses to do the same. The Bristol children follow their father’s example, enthusiastically volunteering at a local orphanage. Everyone is helping to improve Haiti’s outcome in his or her unique way.
Nurse Tim’s mission work has allowed him to understand nursing as a creative profession. “To watch these students, these nurses, and doctors, provide care in the most incredible environments –— whether it be under a mango tree out in a village, whether it be in a hospital where there is no running water or electricity -— these professionals are so creative in meeting the needs of the patients sitting in front of them,” he says.
Witnessing this creativity in action poses a personal and professional challenge for Bristol to dig deeper and hone his nursing skills. The desire to collaborate with nurses internationally is precisely why he sought to join Sigma Theta Tau International. Since becoming a member of the Beta Eta Chapter in 2009, he continues to be energized by other STTI members’ stories. “The level of individuals you get to interact with [in STTI], — people that are motivated about the profession of nursing, about health care, internationally … it’s a very diverse group,” he says.
STTI has provided him the opportunity to connect with nurses around the world who are focused on improving both the evidence base and the quality of health care being provided. He especially values The Circle — STTI’s professional networking site — as a tool to tap into the “Collaborative IQ,” as he calls it. “It reminds me of why I wanted to be a nurse in the first place … These are the people who help you recharge your batteries.”
Nurse Tim sums up his life philosophy succinctly: “My prayer every day is that I’m a blessing to somebody.” His prayer is certain to be answered positively for many days to come, as he tackles his next great venture: – helping to develop the first STTI chapter in Haiti. Connect with him today via The Circle to see how you might be able to help the effort.