Published on March 29, 2019

Pinkins Retires from 34-Year NMMC Career

Tommie PinkinsTommie Pinkins retired from NMMC on March 29 after 34 years of educating expectant and new parents.

Women’s Hospital patient education coordinator Tommie Pinkins has retired after 34 years with North Mississippi Medical Center.

A 1967 graduate of the former Carver High School in Tupelo, Pinkins earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Tuskegee University in Alabama in 1972. She briefly worked at the Veterans Administration hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, before joining the staff of Rainbow Babies and Children Hospital, which is affiliated with University Hospitals of Cleveland. She also worked as a visiting nurse in Cleveland, Ohio, which she says was “home health before there was home health.”

After earning her master’s degree in maternal child nursing from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta in 1977, Pinkins taught pediatric nursing at St. James Mercy School of Nursing in Hornell, N.Y. She later moved back to Cleveland, Ohio, and worked three years for a federally-funded maternal/infant care project that cared for expectant mothers and their babies up to age 1, including home visits.       

Pinkins relocated to Tupelo in 1985 and joined the NMMC staff as coordinator of patient education. In addition to developing the Wonderful Beginnings childbirth classes, she was responsible for nursing staff development in the early years. “Soon after Women’s Hospital opened in 1986, we were seeing almost 40 participants in each childbirth class—24 in one classroom and 16 in the other,” she said. At one time Women’s Hospital employed three childbirth educators to meet the demand for classes.

During her career, Pinkins also mentored breastfeeding mothers and became a certified lactation consultant in 1987. In 1999 she retired from the U.S. Army Reserves after 16 years of military service. She has been a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator since 2004.

Much has changed in the three-plus decades Pinkins has been at NMMC. “When I first came, fathers were not allowed to go into the operating room for C-section deliveries,” she said. “Visitation was really very strict, but it has become more relaxed over the years.” Now, too, expectant and new parents rely heavily on the Internet for childbirth and childcare information.

While Pinkins will miss meeting so many area parents, she is looking forward to spending more time with her daughter, Amira Gunn of Verona, and four grandchildren—Reyne, 19; Christopher, 17; and twins Karma and Kohen, 10. She also enjoys reading, gardening, music and traveling.

She is a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Tupelo, as well as the International Lactation Consultant Association, Lamaze International Organization and the Association of Women's Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

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