BRADENTON, Fla. - At Blake Medical Center, Megan Hawkins' passion can be felt. She works to treat and help burn patients.
"Having this program in my community is huge to me, huge to my family," she said.
That's because her family knows what it's like to live through the unknown. When she was two years old, Hawkins and her father were injured during a house fire. Her father, Greg Golden suffered burns to 40% of his body.
"He was in the burn unit for about a month recovering from those burns. He had to have multiple operations and things and has suffered a lifelong recovery," she said.
Hawkins had her own recovery ahead of her.
"Seeing my dad go through it gave me the courage to get up, get moving and do what we all had to do," Hawkins said.
His courage led Hawkins to help others.
"It really inspired me to become a nurse and my sister as well and I ended up working with burn patients," she said.
Blake's burn unit is one of only six centers in the state. Hawkins has worked her way from bedside nurse in the unit to patient care navigator. She's become an advocate for patients while spreading awareness to prevent burn injuries.
This week is Burn Awareness Week. Megan has gone to schools and beyond to talk about potential hazards that people don't often think about.
"I have had patients in the past where, in a moment where they are having a rough day or a rough time, I think that’s an important thing to say to them, I have been through this. My family has been through this. You will get through this too. Just kind of giving them that outlook that life will get normal again. It will take you working really hard and us working with you but we are here for you and you will get through it," she said.
Her father's last surgery was a couple of years ago. It helped him lift his arms above his head. His goal was to be able to pick up his grandchildren, which he can now do.
His positive outlook remains a tool to help patients heal.
"I think that’s what I try and instill in my patients most is always having that positive outlook the more that you think positivity the better off you will do in your recovery," she said.
As part Burn Awareness Week, Blake Medical Center offers the following tips on electrical safety.
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