ST. MARYS, Georgia: December 22, 2020 – This past year, the coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Nowhere is that more apparent than on Southeast Georgia Health System’s Camden Campus. The work of their health care professionals continues, day in and day out, even when it risks their own safety. While every department on the Camden Campus adjusted to cope with the pandemic, these changes were especially poignant at the Senior Care Center-St. Marys. To protect the health of aging, at-risk residents, the Center suspended visitations in March.
With restrictions in place, team members like Jessica Lamb, CNA, strove to keep residents cheerful through window and FaceTime visits with loved ones. Lamb provides direct care to residents living at the Center. As a Health System team member for nearly nine years, she works closely with nurses to care for the residents. Up to twice a day, she takes vital signs and documents daily activities such as bathing, toileting, walking, eating, and transferring a patient from a wheelchair to their bed. “We are an integral part of the nursing team. We report any changes in a resident’s condition which help our nurses respond quickly to provide the best possible care,” says Lamb. Her role as a caregiver is especially meaningful now when families have limited access to their senior relatives. Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant was a natural choice for Lamb. “I wanted to make a difference. Taking care of others brings me happiness and gives my life a sense of fulfillment.” The daughter of a military man, Lamb grew up in many places; her family was “constantly traveling.” She has since put down roots in St. Marys. “I have lived here for 10 years and consider this home.”
And Senior Care Center-St. Marys is lucky to have her. “Jessica is a huge asset to our team,” says Rhondia Grant, LNHA, administrator, Senior Care Center-St. Marys. “She cares, and she extends herself to our residents beyond her assigned duty. Her smile is like sunshine.” Being a CNA requires physical and emotional strength, and Lamb is no stranger to hard work. She began working at age 15 and has raised two children, Ashlie, 30, and Tommy, 28. Lamb is grateful to her parents for instilling her with a work ethic and a desire to serve others. “They made me the person I am today.”
Reflecting on her proudest achievements, Lamb says, “The accomplishment I’m most proud of is being a parent. I hope I have taught my children that in life you are going to have ups and downs, but during the downs if you have a positive attitude you can get through it!”
Despite the difficulties created by the pandemic, Lamb and her co-workers continue to persevere. If anything, their innate resiliency is stronger now. One adaptation Lamb and her residents found particularly heartwarming were the installation of visitor cottages, providing residents a bit of extra privacy while talking to friends and family that window visits don’t afford. As a health care professional, Lamb shoulders the serious responsibility of keeping herself, her family, her residents, and co-workers safe. She maintains perspective by focusing on her goals and aspects of life that make her happy. “I enjoy learning all I can from the nurses and am trying to expand my knowledge base. My goals include being patient with co-workers and being the best possible person and CNA I can be.” When she’s not striving to achieve her professional aspirations, Lamb enjoys music, movies, and (pre-pandemic) attending dinner theater shows in Jacksonville. Christmas is her favorite holiday and a time to reflect on the wonder and beauty that still prevails, pandemic or not. For most of us, it’s a season to remember all we still have to celebrate. Among this year’s blessings, we can count on dedicated and compassionate health care professionals like Jessica Lamb.
About Southeast Georgia Health System
Southeast Georgia Health System is a not-for-profit health system comprised of two acute care hospitals, two long term care facilities, two comprehensive Cancer Care Centers and multiple specialty care centers, including orthopedic and spine care, joint replacement, breast care, maternity, outpatient rehabilitation, sleep management and wound care. The Brunswick Campus Cancer Care Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and offers the only CyberKnife® M6 with MLC technology in Georgia. Additionally, the Southeast Georgia Physician Associates medical group includes more than 140 providers working in 20 different medical specialties at more than 50 locations. The Health System is part of Coastal Community Health, a regional affiliation between Baptist Health and Southeast Georgia Health System forming a highly integrated hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. For more information, visit sghs.org.