Real Life Nursing: Angela Caudle Leans on Faith, Teammates

Angela Martin Caudle RN, CPNAngela Martin Caudle RN, CPN, charge nurse, 8 Brenner Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, joined Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in November 1983. She manages admissions and transfers and participates in daily multi-disciplinary rounds to address patient/family needs and facilitate timely discharges. Angela also assists the unit manager with urgent issues, manages unexpected schedule changes and serves as a resource for teammates.

Why did you choose to become a nurse?

My decision was cultivated at an early age. I grew up in a community consisting primarily of a Native American tribe, the Sappony, of which I am blessed to be a member. I cherish our strong faith-based heritage that lives out the motto of treating others as you want to be treated. As one of 11 children, I often played the role of “Mother Hen” to my younger siblings, which started my journey of caring for children. Living on a farm brought plenty of activities and a few mishaps that required first aid. I’m happy to report none were life-threatening.

Why did you choose Wake Forest Baptist?

My older sister, Julia Phipps, was employed at then - N.C. Baptist Hospital, from which she retired after 30 years. She encouraged me to come to Winston-Salem and apply for a job at “The Baptist.” That was almost 40 years ago, but even then, it was amazing to see all the possibilities for careers that were offered here, and I wanted to be a part of such a place.

What has kept you here so long?

What most influences me to remain at this ever-changing medical center is just that - it is ever changing and growing. It’s hard to believe that what started as two units on the South and West wings on a second floor designated for pediatric patients has transformed into Brenner Children’s, including The Birth Center with its amazing future potential. Another significant factor is how input from Nursing and collaboration with the medical team is valued and how that has impacted the quality of evidence-based care delivered to our patients.

Tell me about a challenge you’ve faced during your career and how it has helped you cope during tough times.

Caring for sick children and supporting their parents during these challenging times can be difficult. Most patients have amazing recoveries, and the parents are grateful. However, adult issues like domestic violence and drug abuse are having unfair and often life-altering effects on children. Watching neonates withdraw from a substance introduced by the one who gave birth to them is heartbreaking. During difficult times, I’ve learned to lean on my faith and our team, which is not exclusively nurses but everyone with a part in making our unit (aka work family) a success. We love any excuse for a potluck meal/fellowship time, and I make sure to listen to my coworkers, celebrate their individual milestones and sometimes send encouraging/thank you messages after a particularly difficult shift. This pandemic has been scary because we have a COVID-19-designated acute care unit. We have learned much about how to protect ourselves and patients, but it’s only human to fear things we cannot control. This is why I treasure the prayers and support of my husband and family, which includes my 95-year-old dad.

What makes a nursing career successful? 

  • Being aware of what drives your passion to be a nurse
  • Focusing on that passion when challenges happen, and not being afraid to ask for help or additional resources
  • Recognizing the difference that quality care can make in your patient’s recovery 
  • Having the tools available to implement change
  • Knowing that you can rely on those in management positions to provide support