February 25, 2021 – ST. MARYS, Georgia: Holly Gismonde, MPT, could not have picked a more challenging year to begin working at Southeast Georgia Health System. A physical therapist at the Outpatient Rehabilitation Care Center on the Camden Campus, she joined the team in December 2019, just three months before the hospital saw its first COVID-19 patient.
Despite the obstacles of working on the front lines during a pandemic, Gismonde hit the ground running, according to her manager Jeff Zawislak, MPT. “I hired Holly because of the knowledge and professionalism she displayed in her interview. Holly brings numerous years of experience, a strong work ethic and a desire to help people. She develops a great relationship with each patient and strives to get everything she can out of them.” It didn’t take long for Zawislak to realize he had made the right decision. “I’ve received excellent feedback regarding Holly, from patients as well as other health care professionals.”
Gismonde was born and raised in Needham, Massachusetts, and attended college in Connecticut. The New Englander chose sunny Los Angeles for graduate school. After earning a degree in psychobiology (the study of mental functioning and behavior as it relates to other biological processes), she pursued a health care career.
“I’ve always loved exercise and working with people. Physical therapy was the perfect blend of both,” Gismonde says.
She began her career at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. After several years, Gismonde left California behind for an opportunity in New Jersey, and eventually, settled in southeast Georgia. She quickly realized that the Health System was where she wanted to continue her career.
“I chose to work here primarily because of the enthusiasm that the rehabilitation supervisors demonstrated for their departments and teams,” Gismonde says. “I was drawn to the positive environment. I saw friendly staff in all departments, cleanliness, teamwork and a willingness to help other staff and patients. I’m proud to be part of the Health System team, providing excellent care to patients.”
Being a physical therapist keeps Gismonde on her toes, which suits her active personality. In addition to her health care career, she has an amateur cake business, Oh Sugah!, and is developing her home into a small produce farm. A self-described morning person, Gismonde rises every morning at 4:30 a.m. to exercise and feed her animals and work on home projects before heading off to the hospital. Gismonde’s husband, Tim, also works for the Health System as a medical technologist in Laboratory Services on the Brunswick Campus.
Reflecting on her proudest accomplishments, Gismonde ranks raising her son and having a career high on the list. As a physical therapist, she works side by side with patients to treat their injuries or physical limitations. Her goal is to help her patients reclaim a better, more functional way of life. She encourages them to push past their comfort zone to achieve goals, and she practices what she preaches. She and her husband moved to Georgia after living in New Jersey for 25 years, started new jobs and began developing their homestead. If it takes rising before dawn to exercise, feed the farm animals and put the finishing touches on a cake for her growing business, she’s willing and able to get the job done.
The philosopher Seneca said that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Gismonde counts her blessings, but they resulted from her preparation, hard work and ability to focus on goals. Her patients benefit from her example as they overcome obstacles to reclaim a brighter future.
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.