Deaf Nursing Student Gets a Little Help From an App

“People really look up to their nurses.”

Bethany Baker is the first deaf student to be admitted to the University of North Florida’s (UNF) School of Nursing, First Coast News reports.

Bethany comes from a family of nurses, and deafness also runs in her family: every woman on her mother’s side is deaf in one ear, but she was the first to be born fully deaf.

“When I was about 6 months old, my dad tried to scare me and expected a reaction, but I didn’t have that,” Baker told First Coast News.

Her parents began teaching her sign language shortly after they found out she was deaf. “They were taking classes to learn sign,” Baker said.

She attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, but Bethany says her deafness originally kept her from imagining a career in nursing. Now at 27 she’s working toward a post-baccalaureate degree in nursing.

Bethany uses an app on her phone to translate sounds. For example, it pairs with her stethoscope and allows her to visualize the heartbeat.

“I feel honored and at the same time overwhelmed,” Bethany said. “I really feel I have to do the best that I can, to make me or to make all of the other deaf students feel good.”

“People really look up to their nurses. People really have connections through their pain and their suffering and all of their sicknesses, their fears. I’d really like to be that person for some other people out there.”

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