Kicking Stereotypes to the Curb: A Women’s History Month Spotlight on Gabby Best

Monday, March 6, 2023 |
Gabby Best, LPN, knows the importance of maintaining mental and physical health. As a labor and delivery nurse and a jiu-jitsu instructor, she inspires women of all ages to put themselves first.

Throughout Women’s History Month, Bayhealth is featuring women on our team who work every day to inspire and mentor the next generation. Read about how these women spread care and compassion at work and in the community on Bayhealth’s social media pages.

Best said she learned what true strength is from her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 23. Although doctors told her she wouldn’t survive, Best’s mother didn’t give up. “She taught me resilience, and the importance of never taking ‘no’ for an answer,” she said.

She also credits her mom with being her biggest supporter through one of the toughest times her in life. Shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Best became a single mom. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to give her daughter the life she deserves, and that’s when Best’s mom stepped in and supported them both.

Best comes from a long line of women in health care. Her great-grandmother and paternal grandmother were both nurses, and her maternal grandmother was a radiation therapist.

“I always had a heart for helping other people and wanting to make a difference in people's lives, no matter how small,” she said. “The most fulfilling thing for me as a nurse, is when people can feel how much you care for them. It’s also fulfilling to take the time not just to do your job, but to go above and beyond, and to advocate for patients because you care.”

While working as a Magnet® recognized nurse allows Best to care for patients in the hospital, she has also found a way to help those in the community. In 2016, she began learning jiu-jitsu after spending about a year training in Krav Maga and kickboxing.

“My dad and I would always watch MMA fights together growing up, and I remember wanting to be like those girls I saw on TV,” she said.

Now, she owns a jiu-jitsu school and teaches children how to defend themselves.

“Teaching anyone to defend themselves, especially women and children, is the most rewarding part of martial arts,” she said. “A lot of these kids come to us not because they want to beat people up, but because they don't fit in, or they're being bullied. The biggest win for me is them gaining the confidence to stand up for themselves.”

Although she enjoys helping others, Best also recognizes the importance of self-care.

“Whether it’s finding time to read or exercise, getting a coffee, meditation or prayer: find your method of care and force it into your daily habits,” she said. “I think women especially have this burden on their backs to care for everyone else that we put ourselves on the back burner. Take it from me, you can't pour from an empty cup.”

Best said she hopes to inspire other women by showing them that you can come back from rock bottom — resiliency and perseverance are key.

“You can be a woman and be successful. I am making a name for myself in a very heavily male dominated sport, and I want to inspire other women to have courage to do whatever it is that they want to do,” she said.

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