An Educator at Heart
Duff Holcomb, RN, MSN, knew her calling was an obstetrics nurse after witnessing the first of many live births as a nursing student. Forty years later, she continues educating expecting women on what to expect as a nursing educator at Saint Joseph London.
“I called my mom that night I saw my first live birth and told her I wanted to be an obstetrics nurse,” Duff said. “I used to tell people this was my hobby because I worked full time in the school system and then I’d come here in the evenings and work PRN as an OB nurse and educator. Looking back, this really is my calling.”
Duff has been working at Saint Joseph London in several different capacities since June 1980. She retired from Laurel County Schools as the health coordinator, but remained a nurse educator. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, she started educating health care providers on COVID-19 and was recognized for her efforts during the summer.
“I love patient care,” Duff said. “My favorite people in the world are kids and first-time pregnant women. I love educating them. It was really neat when I was working as the health coordinator for Laurel County Schools because I would see a lot of pregnant teenagers at school, then I’d see them at childbirth classes.”
Duff’s calling to help pregnant women followed her on a mission trip to Panama where her church’s youth group went to help dig a well for drinking water in a rural village.
“There was a 15-year-old pregnant girl there, and it was so remote,” Duff said. “It was the most awesome experience. I was able to teach her with the help of an interpreter while I was there. How I happened upon a pregnant girl wasn’t in the plan, but that was God’s plan.”
Duff has traveled to Haiti, Dominican Republic and Alaska for mission trips with First Baptist in London. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with her two granddaughters.
Her passion still remains her work – and she said she’s proud of the nurses and caregivers in the OB unit.
“Our caregivers in the birthing center are hard working,” Duff said. “I tell patients what to expect and they carry it through. My role is minute compared to their role. And I love this place. I’ve met great people here, and we do fabulous work. My daughter had both of her babies here; this is our hospital.”