Spotlight on Telfair Breast Surgery and long-time St. Joseph’s/Candler Nurse, Joy Sapp

Joy Sapp, RN, CAPA
Staff nurse for Telfair Breast Surgery

Nurse for 25 years but with the health system for 31; currently with TBS for a year and a half

SJ/C: Why did you decide to become a nurse?

My mom, Diane Counts, is my biggest inspiration for becoming a nurse. She worked for St. Joseph’s Hospital for more than 25 years as an orthopedic nurse. I am following in her footsteps.

SJ/C: Why did you choose St. Joseph’s/Candler?

It was a natural decision. I wanted to work where my mom worked. She loved St. Joseph/Candler.

SJ/C: What are some of your responsibilities as a nurse in Telfair Breast Surgery?

We take care of all breast problems – benign and cancer. I am responsible for intaking a new patient’s history and performing a breast cancer risk assessment to determine if the patient falls into our high-risk category. I help with office procedures, such as biopsies and port removals. I telephone triage and order necessary imaging.   

SJ/C: Do you find it challenging, especially working with cancer patients?

Actually, I find it very rewarding. I treat everyone like they are my family. If you treat patients like your family, you can never go wrong. My mom had breast cancer, so it’s very near and dear to my heart. I think, ‘What do we need to do to put their mind at ease?’ I love the one-on-one interactions with my patients.  

SJ/C: What do you love about your job?

It’s the patients and the people that I work with. In all my years that I’ve worked at St. Joseph’s/Candler, I’ve always had great people to work with; always have had people you can rely on and learn from. We have a great crew here.  The doctors, nurse practitioners, navigators, nurses and office staff truly care about our patients, and it shows.

SJ/C: What does it mean to you to work for St. Joseph’s/Candler, especially being here as long as you have?

I feel that St. Joseph’s/Candler gives us the tools we need to succeed and to take care of the patients. We have had Magnet accreditation five times. Magnet designation hospitals provide patients and their families with a benchmark by which to measure the quality of care they can expect to receive. That’s why I enjoy working here. Even though there is a hospital only 10 minutes from my house, I still drive an hour one-way to come here because it’s the best place to work.

SJ/C: What does it mean to you to be a Magnet nurse?

St. Joseph’s/Candler is a Magnet hospital and provides the tools we need to succeed. As a new graduate nurse, I had the opportunity of be a part of the Critical Care Residency Program. I had three months of orientation to CCU, ED and ICU.  After nine months of education on critical patients, I applied for a position in ICU, where I had another six months of day shift orientation. In 1998, there was nursing shortage and St Joseph’s/Candler identified the need of the community and provided the opportunity for new graduates to work in the critical care areas. The training I was provided empowered me to become the best nurse that I can be.

SJ/C: What advice would you have to a new nurse or someone considering a career in nursing?

Cindy Zambito, current PICC team nurse, was my orientation nurse to the ICU when I graduated nursing school. She told me on my very first day, a good nurse learns something new every day. Never be afraid to ask questions. After 31 years, I am still learning. You are always growing and learning no matter how old you are and no matter what you are doing. Never be afraid to ask a question because if you just assume, you could hurt someone. You always want to do what’s right for the patient; always be a patient advocate.

Family: Three grown children: Andrew, Josie and Megan and a four-legged child that’s a Beagle named Waylon. I am also expecting my first grandchild any day now. 
Gardening, canning, reading, hanging out with my family

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