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Welcoming New Life into the World: Cathy Johnson, LaShonda Johnson and Rita Ellison

MARYS, Georgia: September 29, 2022 – We tend to think of hospitals as places that care for the sick and injured, but that isn’t always the case. At the Southeast Georgia Health System Camden Campus Maternity Care Center, the miracle of life occurs almost daily. Cathy Johnson, RN, LaShonda Johnson, surgical technologist, and Rita Ellison, unit coordinator, are present to welcome that new life into the world. The three women witness both the challenges and joys of childbirth as parents welcome a new family member into the world. It’s a big responsibility, but they’re up to the task.

“I love the moment when two people having their first child become a family,” says Cathy Johnson. “The tears in the father’s eyes get me every time. I’m thankful families choose us for one of the most important days of their lives.”

Johnson, a labor and delivery nurse, guides families through childbirth every day. A 16-year veteran of the Health System, she was called to nursing later in life. “I always wanted to be a nurse. When my husband’s company shut down and he lost his job, we decided on a career change to better our lives. We both went to college at the same time; he became a paramedic, and I became a nurse.”

Although the decision was a huge midlife change, Johnson has no regrets. “I’m proud of going back to college as a non-traditional student and graduating from the College of Coastal Georgia at the age of 47.”

When not delivering babies, Johnson helps new nurses apply the knowledge they acquired in school to the workplace. It’s rewarding, but she looks forward to retirement and traveling with her husband of 44 years. “We enjoy finding new places to camp, bike and kayak. I’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.” She also enjoys getting together with her two grown children and four granddaughters.

You could describe Surgical Technologist LaShonda Johnson as a surgeon’s right-hand woman, assisting surgeons with the proper delivery of infants. She originally intended to pursue a career in pathology, but having grown up with so many nurses in the family, eventually followed her family’s footsteps into patient care.

Changing her career path worked well. “I’m a people person and enjoy providing families with great customer service during the best time of their life—welcoming a newborn. Being part of a new beginning is so special.”

Currently, Johnson stays busy bringing babies into the world and spending time with her own four children and two dogs, but she intends to return to school to become a midwife. She describes herself as a night owl, which should allow her more time for future studies.

But before a family ever comes into contact with Cathy or LaShonda Johnson, they meet Rita Ellison, unit coordinator. As the first face Maternity Care Center patients and visitors see, her role is critical. “I love the fulfilment I feel while helping patients, and I like the variety of tasks I do—no day is the same!” Ellison says.

A Camden County native, Ellison always wanted to work in health care. When she saw the unit coordinator job listing, “I knew it was for me.” Seven years into her career at the Health System, and she is just as passionate about patient care as she was on her first day. A mother herself, Ellison identifies with the women she greets. “My greatest accomplishment is being a mother to two beautiful, healthy children.”

“These three ladies go the extra mile for patients and our team every day,” says Samantha James, RN, manager, Camden Campus Maternity Care Center. “They all assist with training and mentoring new team members so they, too, can be the best for our patients.”

As any new parent can attest, the hours leading up to childbirth can be a physical and emotional rollercoaster. Through the ups and downs, parents can take comfort, knowing Cathy Johnson, RN, LaShonda Johnson and Rita Ellison are on the job. “Our patients and community are taken care of by the most caring, knowledgeable team. It is an honor to work with this group,” James says.

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.

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