ATLANTA—On his daily rounds as a critical care nurse for Piedmont Healthcare’s intensive care units in metro Atlanta, Ty Walcott sees a wide variety of patients — from those recovering from surgery to others who are on life support. Although their outcomes may vary, the 2016 Perimeter College nursing graduate sees firsthand how a patient’s lifestyle directly affects his or her health.
“I take pride in working in critical care, and helping those patients who are in dire need of medical assistance,” said Walcott. “But I see people struggle with their diagnoses, especially cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes.”
He recently wrote and self-published a book, “Free from Diets,” a 60-page paperback that he hopes will help his patients and their caregivers develop better health habits — and possibly help them prevent chronic ailments by adopting a healthier lifestyle.
“I wanted to create a simplified approach in this book to what is the foundation of a good overall lifestyle and diet and have guidelines to make the reader feel empowered to make good choices,” he said. “If you’re trying to eliminate processed food, I have step-by-step broken that down for you… if you’re at a summer barbecue, I can show you to make that burger better. I want people to know they have options and the knowledge to make better food choices. Ninety-five percent of all diets fail — mainly because people realize ‘hey, this diet does not match my lifestyle, and I can’t continue it.’”
Walcott majored in nutrition at Rutgers University in New Jersey and was a nutrition educator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in that state. He later worked for Whole Foods markets as a culinary specialist, teaching people how to cook and helping them with whatever diet plan or health issues they might have, he said.
“That triggered my interest in nursing,” he said. “As I became exposed to more people with chronic illnesses, I realized I wanted to be more hands-on to help them recover.”
Walcott chose the Perimeter College nursing program after moving to Georgia. “My family lived in Georgia, and my dad said why don’t I give it a try,” he recalled. “I was so glad I did … what I’ve discovered is that our clinical experiences better prepared me for the real world of nursing …we have more hands-on experiences. The nursing program was really challenging where it needed to be challenging, and helped me get the education to pass the NCLEX,” (National Council Licensure Exam for nurses). (Walcott was in good company: The current pass rate for Perimeter’s nursing program is 95 percent.)
Walcott is working on another nutrition and health book directed at nurses.
“Nurses as a whole are a catalyst for change in the American health system. We have the power to change the overall health in America just by taking better care of ourselves,” he said.