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How a Career in Nursing Changed This Man’s Life

It was the spring of 1976. Warren Hebert was 18 years old and in the final months of the radiologic technology program at Charity Hospital in New Orleans (CHNO), an acute care facility of over 2500 beds staffed almost entirely by students. The x-ray field was beginning to spread its wings, but Hebert felt pulled to something different.

Nursing student friends – men with whom he socialized, played sports, and had come to respect – encouraged him to try nursing after he completed x-ray tech school. That decision changed the trajectory of his life. CHNO, nationally respected as one of the best diploma schools in the nation, was a welcoming place for men, who were 9 percent of Hebert’s graduating class of 1979.

Early opportunities

Nursing has provided well for Hebert and his family. He and his educator wife of 40 years raised five children, all of whom attended college, and four of whom are professionals. Their fifth child, born in 1991, has Down Syndrome and also attended college. Hebert’s early nursing experience was in occupational safety and health in a research institute and with oil and gas companies. Having worked in home health agencies since 1985, Hebert was hired as CEO of the HomeCare Association of Louisiana in 1998.

Hebert has served on numerous national boards and advisory councils for journals, and worked for university nursing innovators. In 2006, Hebert and 19 other nurse leaders were selected for the three-year Executive Nurse Fellows Program, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That experience led Hebert to return to school in his 50s for a seven-year whirlwind that resulted in earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, and Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

A robust career

Two daughters followed Hebert into nursing, joining 22 RN aunts, uncles, and cousins. A third daughter, who has Down Syndrome, drives his commitment to family caregivers, the focus of his doctoral work. He has hosted an hour-long weekly program for ten years. “Family Caregiving” airs on Radio Maria in nine states and on the web, and has an estimated 30,000 listeners a day. Hebert also co-presents a monthly nationwide podcast, “Crucial Family Caregiving Conversations.”

Hebert co-founded the COS-C exam, credentialing over 10,000 home care OASIS experts since 2004. He has planned over 50 home care conferences and hundreds of workshops for over 30,000 attendees since 1998. The most memorable meeting was in sparsely populated New Orleans four months after Hurricane Katrina. Over 200 attendees came from across the nation to learn from Louisiana’s experience and to take the first organized tour of the impacted areas of New Orleans. Hebert’s master’s degree capstone explored home health clinical competencies.

Advanced nursing degrees

Upon completing his Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree, Hebert received Loyola University at New Orleans’ Ignatian Award, recognizing the one graduate student from all colleges who best exemplified excellence and Jesuit values. Hebert is now an assistant professor at Loyola, teaching on all three levels. In November of 2018, Hebert was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing. Hebert’s latest project is establishing a center for transformational studies in the practice of care and services in the home.

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