How a Prospero Nurse Practitioner Honors His Mother Through Service
“I did not want to be a nurse.”
Growing up, Prospero nurse practitioner, David Goodwin, had no interest in following his mother, Kay, into the nursing profession. David watched Kay work long hours and eventually leave the field altogether after experiencing burnout.
As an adult, David pursued a career in finance. After being laid off from his job as a financial adviser during the Great Recession, he got down on his knees and prayed for inspiration. The answer David received was simple: go back to school. The very next day, while filling out his application for community college, he unexpectedly found himself writing “nursing” as his major.
“It just came to me. Everything I’ve done in life—working in the financial field, working in the ministry—has always been about helping people. I don’t know how to do anything else but help people.”
To his wife’s surprise, David quickly overcame his aversion towards bodily fluids and thrived in his new program. Kay, despite her own challenges as a nurse, was thrilled to see her son find his calling. She even paid for his uniform and supplies. But during David’s first semester as a bachelor’s nursing student, Kay was diagnosed with brain cancer. David offered to take time off to help care for his mother, but she insisted he focus on his studies. Kay passed away before she could see her son earn his nurse practitioner’s degree.
“Six months prior to her death, my Mom was a healthy and active 62-year-old. She was placed in hospice about two months prior to her death, and I’m grateful for the services they provided. I treat my patients the way I would treat my Mom—with dignity and respect.”
David honed his compassionate and thoughtful approach as a provider while working in a rural clinic in the second-poorest county in the state of Alabama, where he’s based.
“When I finished nurse practitioner school, I committed to working for a minimum of two years in an underserved community,” he said. “At that clinic, I worked with a diverse patient population, from infants to the elderly.”
Since joining Prospero in June 2020, David has made a tremendous impact on both his patients and teammates through his empathy, kindness, and ability to see beyond a person’s illness. These qualities particularly shine through in David’s relationship with Robert, a former computer programmer who lives with his sister in Birmingham.
When David first met Robert, the nurse practitioner noticed a large pile of garbage bags on Robert’s overgrown front lawn. David discovered that Robert’s health conditions made it difficult for him to carry trash to the curb, so Robert resorted to leaving the bags on the lawn, where they sat uncollected.
When David and the social worker on his team looked for a program that could help Robert and his sister with trash pick-up and yard maintenance, they couldn’t find one. So, David recruited his son and a young person from the church—where David is a pastor—to clean the yard themselves. Together, the trio brought around 40 garbage bags to the road for collection, tidied up around the house, and returned later to mow the lawn.
“I cannot tell you how much it means to have your help. It’s hard on a man when he can’t take care of his yard and home anymore. Please tell your boss thanks for letting you help me in this way.”Prospero patient (Robert)
Yard work isn’t in David’s job description, but his passion and commitment lead him to go above and beyond for the people he cares for: “My mission is to give patients the best care possible, to follow through on my promises, to treat them with dignity and respect regardless of their position in life, to share care and compassion, and to practice to the full extent of my profession.”