Hatfield Closes 36-Year Chapter at NMMC
BALDWYN, Mississippi—Karen Hatfield, RN, recently retired after filling several roles and tackling many challenges over her 36-year nursing career at North Mississippi Medical Center.
Hatfield, who is a lifelong Booneville resident, retired Jan. 3 as director of nursing at Baldwyn Nursing Facility, her final stop in her long and varied career.
A 1980 graduate of Booneville High School, Hatfield completed the pre-veterinary medicine curriculum at Northeast Mississippi Community College before deciding to pursue nursing instead. She earned her associate degree in nursing from NEMCC in 1986 and joined NMMC’s 3 South team as a staff nurse working with cancer patients. She was later named charge nurse and then nurse manager of the oncology unit.
Her career took a new path in 1998 when Hatfield became a nurse analyst with Information Technology Services (which was then called Management Information Services). In 2003, she was named manager of the nurse analyst team. “I really enjoyed my time in IT. It’s very different from traditional nursing,” Hatfield says. “It’s constantly changing, and I enjoyed the challenge of making a computer do what end-users wanted it to do. I made a lot of friendships that I still cherish to this day.”
Hatfield particularly enjoyed the project management aspect of the job. She saw the conversion from paper to electronic medical records and helped each of NMMC’s affiliated hospitals come online with the E7000 system. Then, when the time came, she was on the leadership team that helped NMMC and its community hospitals transition from E7000 to the Sunrise Clinical Management System.
She led the hospital’s design team for medication barcoding, as well as the implementation of the first information system designed specifically for use in NMMC’s Emergency Services Department.
While Hatfield thrived on the challenge, she missed being on the frontline of care. She returned to her roots in 2014 when she became director of nursing at Baldwyn Nursing Facility. “It’s like taking care of my hometown folks,” she says. “It makes a big difference when you’re taking care of your own community.” While working full-time, she completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of North Alabama in Florence in 2015.
A loyal employee, Hatfield contends that North Mississippi Health Services is the best employer in the area. “I’ve watched it grow over the years,” she says, “and I have a lot of respect for our leadership.”
Now that she is retired, Hatfield looks forward to spending more time with her husband of 35 years, Mark; son, Blake of Jackson; daughter, JJ Curry (Will) of Oxford; and mother, Jan McGreger of Booneville. But it was her 3-year-old grandson, Jace, who had the biggest influence on her decision to retire. “He has his Grammy’s heart,” she says, “and I have his.”
She also enjoys reading, DIY projects, painting and refinishing furniture, and long walks daily with her dachshund, Gizmo.