Profile: Bahaa Barsoum, RN

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Bahaa Barsoum, RN
Bahaa Barsoum, RN
Bahaa Barsoum, RN
Director of Nursing, A.G. Rhodes

Once Bahaa Barsoum became a certified nursing assistant, he knew what his path would be: He wanted to become a nurse.

“I was working in a factory and making $15 an hour and I was willing to take $5 an hour to get my foot in the door,” he recalls. He quickly became an LPN and an RN, and in time, a director of nursing.

Last year, he received the 12th Annual Joan Anne McHugh Award for Leadership in Long-Term Services and Supports Nursing from LeadingAge.

“When asked about a resident, it is never a ‘Let me check and I will let you know' answer,” wrote A.G. Rhodes Director of Clinical Services Jackie H. Summerlin, RN, in the LeadingAge application. “He immediately knows the answer because he treats residents as if they are members of his family and he knows them well.”

Barsoum's journey to A.G. Rhodes in Atlanta and the LeadingAge stage began in Cairo, Egypt. His family immigrated to New York City when he was 8 years old and then moved to upstate New York. The brother of two younger identical twin sisters, Barsoum's early interests were soccer, wrestling and boxing.

When he graduated from high school, his father, a librarian, encouraged him to join the Army. Spending a few years in the service, where he achieved the rank of corporal, helped broaden his perspective, Barsoum says.

“It gave me a look at the whole world and kind of opened up my eyes. It opens up your heart a lot,” he adds.

Once discharged, he spent time studying accounting. But in a conversation with his father, he mentioned he didn't want to live in New York City pursuing a finance career. His father then asked, “Why don't you become a nurse?” 

Once that clicked, Barsoum also discovered longterm care was the right fit.

“I just had a passion with working with the elderly,” he notes.

By 2009, he joined A.G. Rhodes as its director of nursing. Barsoum was one of his first and most successful hires, says A.G. Rhodes CEO Deke Cateau. Among Barsoum's accomplishments is stabilizing the nursing management team.

“We had several good individuals, but they weren't cohesive as a team,” Cateau recalls. “He also instantly had credibility with the CNAs and LPNs because he was a CNA. He showed them he was willing to get down in the trenches.”

Cateau also candidly notes that because Barsoum is practical and doesn't brag, “I think he's underestimated for his brilliance.”

“Because of his humility, that doesn't always come out,” Cateau explains. “He's a servant leader at a time that is so necessary.”

Barsoum also garners respect by being a family man, he notes. “His dedication and love of family is a special quality,” Cateau observes. Barsoum met his wife, Miriam, through their nursing program, marrying in 1999. They have four children: Sree, 17; Mia, 15; Caleb, 11; and Annabella, 9, along with three dogs and two cats.

“We like to hang out as a family and do the little things,” he says. Their move to Georgia 12 years ago was partially due to the warmer weather; Barsoum says the family particularly enjoys summer activities such as swimming.

Now 52, Barsoum also has become a runner, largely due to a crisis moment a few years ago.

“I was walking in the road one day and I was having a hard time breathing,” he remembers. “I started watching what I eat, and I like the half marathons.” He's now lost close to 50 pounds and hopes to complete a full marathon some day.

As he looks to the future, Barsoum says he owes much of his success to his wife.

“She has inspired me to keep going,” he says. In addition, he emphasizes, “whenever you migrate toward good people, good things happen.” 


1983 Joins U.S. Army

1993 Becomes a certified nursing assistant

1996 Attains LPN diploma and licensure

1998 Completes RN degree at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY, and joins Albany County Nursing Home

2007 Moves to Georgia and joins Sunbridge Care & Rehab as assistant director of nursing

2009 Hired at A.G. Rhodes Atlanta as director of nursing

2017 Receives the Joan Anne McHugh Award for Leadership in LongTerm Services and Supports Nursing from LeadingAge