After working at her father”s neurosurgical practice in a clerical capacity for a period of time, Dr. Barnett became curious about what exactly her father did each day.
“He took me into the operating room to let me observe a procedure, and I thought, “I can do that,”# says Dr. Barnett. “Since my degree was in art history, I was required to start all over to obtain degrees in chemistry and biology. At that point in my life, I was divorced and had two children, but with hard work and some help from my family, I was able to make it to where I am today.”#
Dr. Barnett received her bachelor”s degree in Biology from Kennesaw College, then went straight through four years of medical school at Medical College of Georgia, where she earned the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society”s award. The next step was to gain admission to a residency program, a process that”s highly competitive. It was there that her head pressed against the proverbial glass ceiling — “No one wanted to take a divorced mother of two into a residency program — I wasn”t a safe bet for finishing the course.”#
Dr. Barnett had to apply for a residency three times before gaining acceptance to Medical College of Georgia”s neurosurgery program, where she eventually won an award for excellence in neurosurgery. She refused to become discouraged and put her time to good use between applications, working for two years in general and trauma surgery at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, AL, and an additional year in general surgery at Medical College of Georgia. She appreciates the skills she gained during that difficult waiting period, noting that she utilizes them on a daily basis in her job today.
“Those years of experience have actually been a great bonus to me in my career,”# says Barnett. “Now, when I”m the first one on the scene in the emergency room, I have the training to take care of patients who need critical care.”#
Dr. Barnett says that the most rewarding part of her job is being able to intervene in patients” lives so greatly that she can literally save a life. Her philosophy on working in a field in which she has few female peers is simple but eloquent: “I”ve been given a gift and I share it.”#
Dr. Barnett is a Fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and a Fellow of the College of Surgeons. For more information, visit www.JohnsCreekNeurosurgery.com.