Paula Dominy, RN has been a national member of ANAC since 1989 when she received a free membership while working as a home health nurse in Florida. She has been a member of Austin ANAC for over 20 years and has held various positions on the board, including two terms as President. Paula currently works full time at the HIV clinic where she started her career as an AIDS care nurse in 1993. In light of her years of dedicated service, Austin ANAC has named Paula Dominy,RN our local hero.
When Paula started at the David Powell Clinic in Austin, TX the staff consisted of one doctor, two nurses, and two social workers, and served 300 patients. During this time period, there was no such thing as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) so networking with pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, and other suppliers was essential in order to obtain medication for patients. Although the group was small, Austin ANAC played a key role in networking with aforementioned suppliers in order to deliver desperately needed medication to their patients. In the early 1990’s, Austin ANAC had about five members, including Paula, which is a vast difference compared to the thirty or more current national and local members now. The meetings were very simple and operated on a shoe string budget. They were often pot-luck, held after hours at the clinic. However, if it were not for those very few members who kept it going in the beginning, our current organization would not be where it is today.
A lot has changed since 1993, HIV treatment has improved tremendously and there is increased access to care with the help from foundations and government programs. What has not changed, and what will always remain a constant, is the need for compassionate and dedicated individuals such as Paula Dominy,RN. It should also be noted that in addition to caring for her assigned patient panel, Paula is also the adherence nurse for David Powell Clinic. She meets one on one with individuals in order to teach them the importance of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) adherence, works with patients to resolve barriers to adherence, collaborates with patients, families, care givers, and case managers to achieve maximum ART adherence, as well as providing patient teaching in regard to non-ART medication.
Those of us who work in HIV care understand the unique and difficult challenges HIV positive people face on a daily basis. Therefore, we can appreciate how important it must be to those patients who have had the opportunity to have Paula as their nurse, who has been there with them through thick and thin for over twenty years. When asked to name some of the highlights of her career, Paula replied: “It will always be the smile on patient’s faces when I tell them their viral load is undetectable.”
Thank you Paula Dominy, for everything you do for your patients and Austin ANAC, you truly are a local hero.