Get to Know Women's Health Nurse Practitioner- Shan Baker

Where did you attend school?

I received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Georgia Baptist College of Nursing.  I chose Georgia State for my Master’s level Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program.

How long have you been a staff member at Georgia Tech?

17 years in November!

Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing?

My father passed away from cancer when I was 15 years old.  Throughout his journey, I saw firsthand how vital nurses were to the wellbeing of both the patient and the patient’s family.  The expertise and compassion I observed in his caregivers made quite an impression on me and I had a desire to pursue Nursing so that I could provide that same type of care for others. 

Have you always worked in women’s health? If not please explain?

Most of my career has been dedicated to Women’s Health.  I was a hospital nurse for 5 years, caring for new mothers and their babies.  When I went back to graduate school, the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program was a natural extension of the knowledge gained from my hospital experience.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that my role at Stamps Health Services is multifaceted.  I am able to provide direct care to our students and I also have opportunities to offer Health Education on a variety of topics, both to individuals and groups.  I am involved with committees and initiatives that allow me to connect with the campus outside of Stamps Health Services, and that interaction really fosters a sense of community. 

How have you seen SHS evolve throughout your time here?

Stamps Health Services has grown in many ways since I started here in 2000.  In 2003, we were able to move into a wonderful new facility (our previous location is where the Klaus Advanced Computing building now stands).  We have achieved AAAHC accreditation, we successfully transitioned to an electronic health records system, and we have more staff, offering a wider array of services than ever before! 

What is a common misconception about women’s health that you would like to change?

One common misperception is that pelvic exams are painful.  When a pelvic exam is necessary, I take care to ensure the comfort of my patient.  I typically consult with the patient in my office space prior to the exam because I want to make sure the student understands the process and has time to ask questions.  I use small speculums and even have pediatric sized speculums if needed.  I always work with my students to tailor exams to the needs of the individual.

Why are annual visits to a women’s health clinic so important among college students?

A yearly wellness visit is so much more than just an exam (In fact, sometimes an exam may not even be needed)!  This routine visit is an opportunity to discuss any concerns that you may have regarding your body and reproductive health, your menstrual cycle, optimizing bone and heart health and various other health related topics.  You may wish to discuss your contraceptive needs or perhaps you want to plan for a healthy pregnancy.  Your provider can perform a breast exam, test for sexually transmitted infections or collect a cervical cancer screen (age 21 and over).  Problems and concerns can be addressed at an annual visit as well.  Even if you have no gynecologic needs right now, it is a great idea to schedule a time to talk.  We recommend that you establish a relationship with a Women’s Health provider before you have an issue.

What do you like to do when you are not at SHS?

I love to read (my favorite is classic science fiction), and I stay busy supporting my children’s sports pursuits.  I also love all things Disney!  We often vacation at Disney World in Orlando or on Disney Cruise Line. 

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  • Shan Baker

    Shan Baker