TUPELO, Miss.-Barbara Homan, RN, loves writing almost as much as she loves her job at the North Mississippi Ambulatory Surgery Center. With her new children’s book, Tonsil Trouble, she has found an ideal way to enjoy both.
Hailing from a family of educators, Homan started college as an education major at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus. She married her junior year, changed majors and graduated in 1984 with an associate’s degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College. She joined the North Mississippi Medical Center staff that year as a registered nurse working with thoracic and vascular surgery patients. After a brief stint at the new Women’s Hospital, she has spent the last 23 years working at the surgery center.
As a pre-operative nurse, Homan’s job is to prepare patients for surgery. Because ear, nose and throat procedures are among the most commonly performed there, she knows firsthand the anxiety pediatric patients and their parents face.
“Parents don’t go back into surgery with their child, so I really wanted them to get a look and see what it’s like,” Homan said. “The book is designed for parents to read with their child. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
Homan wrote Tonsil Trouble as a manuscript for a class she took through the Institute of Children’s Literature in 2006. Her instructor’s feedback was encouraging. She tapped local artist Robert Bristow (who is married to Homan’s coworker, Missy Bristow, RN) to illustrate her book. Wilma Cardona, who works as an interpreter for NMMC, translated the book into Spanish.
Tonsil Trouble details the story of a 6-year-old girl named Julie who is scared about having her tonsils removed. Her journey starts when she gets the news at the doctor’s office and continues through pre-op and a tour of the Surgery Center. Julie has her surgery and then a few weeks later reassures a friend who is about to have his tonsils removed.
Last summer, the first 1,000 books rolled off the press. In February, the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi and CREATE Foundation partnered to purchase 300 books to distribute to pediatric patients at the Ambulatory Surgery Center.
“I’m so excited to be able to give a book to children when they come in before surgery,” Homan said. She is currently promoting the book with the hope of getting it in other hospitals nationwide.
With a full-time job and a family-including three grandchildren-to keep her busy, Homan is focusing on this book’s success first. But waiting in the wings she has a similar book written about a child having ear tube surgery, as well as some other manuscripts she might someday like to publish.