Barnes Honors Mentor, Nurse with $75,000 in Scholarships

By Benjamin Waldrum

Barnes donated $37,500, matched by UAMS for a total of $75,000, towards the Blackwell-Barnes College of Medicine Scholarship and the Marty Bushmiaer Orthopaedic Nursing Scholarship. The former honors his mentor, Banks Blackwell, M.D., and the latter honors Marty Bushmiaer, A.P.R.N., Barnes’ longtime nurse.

The Blackwell-Barnes College of Medicine Scholarship will assist College of Medicine students with a preference for those from southeast Arkansas and an interest in orthopaedics.

“I have a strong affection for southeast Arkansas,” Barnes said. “This is about giving back – both to that region of Arkansas and to orthopaedics.”

Barnes, who has served as chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery since 2014, was invested June 1 in the Carl L. Nelson, M.D., Distinguished Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery. He is one of Arkansas’ and the region’s foremost joint replacement experts.

Barnes credits his interest in orthopaedics to Blackwell, a fellow Pine Bluff native, who mentored him at Jefferson Regional Medical Center. “Banks was an orthopaedic surgeon, and his support helped me become one,” Barnes said.

Barnes, who graduated with honors from the College of Medicine in 1986 and completed his internship and residency in orthopaedic surgery at UAMS, was one of many students whom Blackwell helped send to medical school.

“Banks did this for me and others from Pine Bluff,” Barnes said. “He asked that we do it for others when we could, and I have enjoyed doing so.”

The Marty Bushmiaer Orthopaedic Nursing Scholarship will support orthopaedic nurses in obtaining an advanced nursing degree from the College of Nursing.

“Marty is a good example for orthopaedic nurses because she is dedicated to patients and quality outcomes,” Barnes said. “We have worked closely together for more than 20 years and hopefully have advanced hip and knee replacement in our state.”

Bushmiaer has worked alongside Barnes since 1994, when she was pursuing an advanced degree at UAMS. They collaborated on project at Arkansas Children’s Hospital while she was in graduate school “and the rest is history,” Bushmiaer said.

The scholarship announcement came as a total surprise. “I was truly overwhelmed by his generous gift,” Bushmiaer said. “It is amazing.”

The path to becoming a nurse was always clear in her mind, Bushmiaer said.

“Since the age of 5, I have wanted to be a nurse,” she said. “I fell in love with orthopaedics on my first job following nursing school. I was inspired by the nurses in the operating room who shared their love and enthusiasm for orthopaedics.”

Bushmiaer looks forward to introducing more nurses to the specialty.

“This scholarship means that a nurse, who may not have been able to, may now pursue an advanced degree in nursing,” Bushmiaer said. “I am proud to know that there will be an opportunity for another nurse to love and enjoy a fulfilling career in orthopaedic nursing.”

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,240 students, 913 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.