Meet our co-workers

Once a week, we like to highlight one of our many wonderful co-workers. Find out more about their role in the health system and what they love about working for St. Joseph's/Candler.

Ed Daniels

Meet Edward Daniels, a Desktop Technician II at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Ed has worked with the health system for 17 years, first starting at Candler Hospital and then moving to St. Joseph’s four years later. He assists co-workers – not only at St. Joseph’s Hospital, but also at our Plaza locations across the street, as well as Pooler, Richmond Hill and Statesboro – with their computer, WI-FI and other technical needs. He’s part of a team of three at St. Joseph’s and is constantly on call, which he doesn’t seem to mind. 

“I enjoy working with colleagues that have the same background as me and who love coming to work every day. It’s very family oriented. We all get along. I know it sounds cliché, but we really do. It’s really exciting when you can help someone. We help take care of our co-workers so that they can take care of their patients. If the computers do not work, nothing is going to work.”

“Working for St. Joseph’s/Candler allows me, for example, to work and have a personal life. I can arrange things, and they are very understanding. It’s family first. You can’t do that everywhere. All 17 years here have been like that. It’s very family-oriented. I really just enjoy the people I work with. I’m not at home each morning thinking, ‘I don’t want to come to work today.’ 

Meet Debbie Shumans, executive secretary in administration. Debbie has worked for the health system for 45 years, starting at St. Joseph’s Hospital in admissions and then education and staffing coordination before becoming an executive secretary, where she has spent the majority of her career. As secretary to the vice president of Human Resources, she works with a variety of departments including Human Resources, The Children’s House, volunteer services and health management. Debbie does all of the traditional responsibilities of an executive secretary, such as answering the phone, managing calendars, taking minutes at meetings and more, but one of her favorite roles is serving as point person on the activities committee. She helps with the floats we build for the parades we participate in, such as the MLK parade and St. Patrick’s Day parade. She also is the internal point person for our United Way campaign and helps with activities such as co-worker appreciation cookouts and a Christmas event called Brunch with Santa.

Debbie Shumans

“I think that’s why I have been here 45 years – because I think my job is fun. Each department I have been in, I’ve worked with great people, and we’ve made joy within our departments. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been here for 45 years. To work at a place that’s not only a joyful place to work, but it also is faith-based, and I think that’s where some of our joy comes from. We have to take care of business in order to give good care to our patients, but we do it in a kinder and gentler way than some businesses do.”

“It’s just a great place to work. I have worked in places where I got a day’s pay for a day’s work and that’s really only what I expect, but we get more here than that. We do get a day’s pay for a day’s work, but we get other great benefits as well, such as our retirement plan and health plan. It’s a good place to be.” 

Linda A.

Meet Linda Arreglavo. Her title may be cook, but Ms. Linda does it all at the St. Joseph’s Hospital cafeteria, where she’s worked for more than 16 years. Linda is the hands behind St. Joseph’s cafeteria’s famous cheese biscuits. She’s also known for her daily breakfast and yogurt bars, salad bars and daily specials, such as the tacos, Greek or barbecue meals. Ms. Linda also helps prepare salads for patients and spends time thinking of creative new ideas for patients, co-workers and visitors. She’ll jump in to help cook or clean, really whatever is asked of her.

“I like being creative with the food and doing different things. I really put thought into what I am going to put out for people. I like doing different stuff, and they let me do that here. I have learned a lot too. I like the people here. Everyone is so friendly and nice. I also like that I feel appreciated when I do things. Everyone always says thank you, and our managers and leadership are so supportive and nice to me. The team work is great. Whenever you ask for help, someone will step in, or I will step in when I can. It’s all about teamwork. I’m just happy to work here.” 

Meet Heather Sikes, surgical technician in the surgery center at our Pooler Campus. Heather has worked in Pooler more than two years, where many types of surgeries are done including podiatry, general, orthopedics and gynecological, as well as da Vinci robotic surgeries. As a surgical tech, Heather assists the physician during the surgery – passing instruments, holding cameras – but there’s also a lot of build up to each case. She prepares the day before by going over each surgery for the next day and making sure the team has everything in the room they need. She also helps make sure everything is sterile before the patient arrives in the room. During surgery, she’s responsible for keeping track of all the equipment and assisting the surgeon. Following surgery, they break down and start all over for the next case or the next day.

Heather Sikes

“I love the fact that every day is an opportunity to learn something new. You can do four of the same cases back to back but every case is going to be different because every patient is different. That to me is interesting. You are always learning something about the human body and ways to fix it. That’s what interests me and keeps my interest.”

“I worked in a hospital setting for 15 years and coming here to Pooler was a very nice change for me. It is smaller, but it gives you opportunity to have a closer relationship with your peers, you get a good feel for things and you get to really know the physicians. I think us having a surgery center out here is not only a great thing for the community and people not having to go to Savannah, but we’re standalone and we stand out. Every time you talk to someone about this facility, everyone says how nice it is. It feels good to work in a place that people speak highly of.”

“I also appreciate that No. 1, St. Joseph’s/Candler is faith-based, and also, the fact that it is not-for-profit. It’s about the patients, and that’s what is important in our job. It’s not about the dollar and that’s what makes you feel better about working for a place like this.” 

Meet Sister Veronica Kovach, RSM, hospital chaplain at Candler Hospital. Sr. Veronica has worked here for nearly nine years, spending the first two and a half years at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She visits with patients and families in the Special Care Nursery, Mother-Baby unit, five north, which is pediatrics, and the fourth floor, which is oncology and medical-surgical. As a chaplain, Sr. Veronica offers compassionate listening, prayer if the patients and families want a prayer, and when appropriate offering to hold a person’s hand or give a hug. Sr. Veronica also is on a rotating schedule with the other chaplains to say the daily prayer and lead the Sunday service.


“I love my work. It’s not just me providing compassionate listening about problems, but it also offers patients an opportunity to talk to someone about their faith. Perhaps they don’t feel comfortable talking about their problems or about their faith with other people, but they may open up to me. Patients and families have also ministered to me and helped my faith to grow as I’ve listened to them. I’ve meet so many wonderful people. Sometimes I’ll start a prayer, and they’ll join in, and it’s beautiful. In many situations, we just put it in God’s hands and know that we’ll see God’s hand, and He’ll always choose what is the best for us.”

“There’s a real faith-spirit at St. Joseph’s/Candler. Patients and their families say, ‘This hospital. I just love it. All the nurses and other people who come into my room are so loving and caring.’ I’m from the north. I have found that people are very friendly here. I love the responses you get when you greet people. One of them was ‘How are you today?’ And the response was ‘I’m blessed.’ Isn’t that beautiful? I had never heard that before. People everywhere are just so friendly. It’s an ideal work place where people are kind. I feel very blessed. And, I thank God every day for my vocation as a Sister of Mercy.”

Meet Linda Wilkinson, clinical manager for the Center for Digestive Diseases at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Candler Hospital and the Pooler Campus. Linda has worked for the health system for a total of more than 24 years and always in GI (gastrointestinal). She makes sure all the centers are properly staffed and there is an adequate amount of equipment for the day’s procedures. Her biggest responsibility is making sure the staff is properly trained and executing their role correctly.

“Thirtysomething years ago, I told the manager then that I would give GI one year, and yet here I am today. It’s the most exciting area to be in. It’s procedure-oriented. I work real close with the doctors, and by working with them, you learn to become an expert as the nurse in the room. I got the privilege of doing that. I was always told you are either going to like it or not like it, and I always tell people when they start here, you never really know what we do until you do it. You don’t get bored because the field is always changing. That’s a great thing about it too. I tried mother-baby. I did neuro, but my love is GI.”

“I think St. Joseph’s/Candler is just what they say they represent. It’s like a big family, and we look out for each other. I tell my staff, I live with y’all one-third of my life. You are like my sisters and brothers. It’s a job, but it’s more than a job. It’s giving good care to our patients. I’m very lucky to work for St. Joseph’s/Candler. My daughter also is a nurse here, so it’s nice to have her here. It’s just fun, and you don’t know how much fun it is until you come do it. I am real lucky here.”

Meet Lawrence Baskerville, security supervisor at St. Joseph’s Hospital. No one day is the same in security for Lawrence. He could be helping drive someone to the bus stop one minute and assisting with an emotionally-distressed patient the next. The retired New York City police officer also helps with parking and monitors not just the main hospital campus but all the buildings in Plazas A-D across the street.

“It may sound cliché, but I really like helping people. When I’m walking the hallways, even if it’s something as simple as giving directions, I love helping. One of the biggest questions we get asked is, ‘Where is the cafeteria?’ because this cafeteria is world famous. You tell them, and they always give you a big smile.”

“We really have good co-workers that work here. The company as a whole, it’s loving here. Everybody takes care of everyone. When you have a good amount of people that you work with that are good at their job and kind, it makes it very easy to come to work every day. I really enjoy working for this health system.”

Meet Mackenzie Derst, social worker with clinical care coordination at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Mackenzie has worked here for almost five years. She is the social worker on the PCU floor at St. Joseph’s, and works side by side with the case manager to formulate a discharge plan for patients. She communicates with the physicians, nurses, therapists and dietitians to learn the needs of the patient to help formulate that discharge plan. She also can help patients who need assistance with insurance or medications. She can help get referrals for physical therapy or SOURCE or hospice. She makes sure patients have transportation upon discharge – whatever the individual patient needs to discharge safely.

“I really like working with all the co-workers. I like the culture here. Everyone says good morning and smiles and everyone is very helpful. I feel like it’s a team approach to patient care, and not only within my department, but also on the floor. I have a great leadership team. When things get complex, I can reach out to leadership and ask for help, which is important in this fast-paced environment. Every day is different, and I learn something new every day. I’m never bored, and that’s something I like too.”

“My grandmother was a volunteer, a Pink Lady, and did more than 25,000 hours at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I was born and raised in Savannah and graduated from St. Vincent’s High School, so I’ve always known about St. Joseph’s/Candler. What I love about the health system is working for an organization that gives back to the community with programs like SOURCE, St. Mary’s, Good Samaritan and the Danny Brown Fund. It makes me feel good working at a place that gives back so much.” 

Meet Magdalene “Maggie” Scott, clinical assistant at St. Mary’s Health Center. Maggie has worked for St. Joseph’s/Candler for 22 years, 17 of which have been at St. Mary’s Health Center. She serves as both a medical assistant and referral specialist, but she also fills in at the front desk or “wherever I’m needed.” Maggie helps triage patients before their appointments, checking their blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and going over their information. Then, if the nurse practitioner determines they need a referral to a specialist, Maggie makes sure the referral gets to the right doctor’s office.

“What I love about my job is when a patient enters the building, and they don’t know what’s going on with their health and don’t have anyone to help them, we’re here for them. We are able to treat them and show them love. They then go from sadness to a smile on their face, and they have hope in their heart. When you see that process, you know God came into the building and took over. That’s the best thing in the world to see. We help people that really, really need our help. It’s awesome working with these patients because sometimes it’s just simple things that no one has told them. We just help to show them the way – the better way to eat better; the better way to take care of themselves. We show them the love of God. All that helps with their wellness.”

“This health system has an eye of picking out angels to assist our patients with love and kindness. It’s a mission, and God sent us to do a mission. All of us do a mission. Whether we are inside the hospitals or these clinics, the mission is so important. It’s so wonderful to work for this health system. This has been a beautiful journey. I love it here. I really do.”

Meet Aaron Trapani, Treasury Manager in the finance department. Aaron has worked here for three years and is responsible for analyzing the finances of various departments within the health system. He reviews departmental monthly financial reports looking for any variances or anything that stands out. He helps determine if an expense needs to be moved forward to next month or if anything seems odd. He also manages the accounts payable team to ensure all invoices are paid timely and accurately. Aaron also works with various departments when it’s budget time, helping managers and directors set their budget.

“I’ve always been a numbers guy. I like analyzing things and putting them in a neat package for people. I also really enjoy the aspect of assisting. The nurses and doctors and others on the floors are so busy with patient care. We do our best to support them by letting them do what they do without having to worry about all the financial stuff. Our goal is to have a workflow be seamless so you can take care of patients and let us take care of the financial part of the job.”

“St. Joseph’s/Candler has a good atmosphere and a good culture. I know that may sound cheesy or corporate speak, but it really is true. I’ve worked at other companies, and more than money, it’s important that you don’t hate coming into work every day. This is a good-sized company as well. We’re a large health system, but it doesn’t feel like that. It still feels like I can call someone in another department and not have to be put on a waiting list or make a meeting for three weeks from now. I can walk down the hall to talk to co-workers. I’ve been very welcomed since day one, everyone from finance to purchasing, everyone I’ve dealt with has been very informative and very helpful.”

Meet Glynis Williams, patient placement coordinator with the room assignment department at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Glynis has worked with St. Joseph’s/Candler for almost 43 years. She started out as a unit clerk at Candler Hospital. In 1997, she moved to the room assignment department at St. Joseph’s Hospital where she has been ever since. In her role, she helps patients that come into the hospital – whether through the emergency room, surgery or outside hospital or doctor’s office – get placed in a patient room. She coordinates with doctors, nurses, resource coordinators and others to make sure patients can be placed in a room in a timely manner so they can get the continued care they need.

“It can be very busy, but it’s a very rewarding job. I love it because I’m helping patients get to where they need to be, to get the help that they need to get. I enjoy working with the doctors and nurses and everyone in the office with me. It’s a very nice job. We are behind the scenes, but we play a big part in patient care. I really love it.”

“I also love the fact, first and foremost, that St. Joseph’s/Candler is a faith-based entity. The theme of, ‘Rooted in God’s love’ is a big thing to me. We have to have love to help people get what they need. I’m glad I’m a part of two entities that recognize ‘Rooted in God’s love’ is so important."

Meet Laurie Anders, medical assistant with SJ/C Primary Care in Pooler. Laurie has worked with the Pooler Primary Care office for eight years and works side-by-side with the doctors for patient care. She performs all the vitals on patients before they see the doctor. If, for example, a patient is diabetic, she checks blood sugar and A1Cs for the doctor to review with the patient. She can give shots as necessary, assist with pap smears and perform EKGs.

“I love the people. I love the patients, and I’ve been with many of them for so long, but even the new patients, I enjoy working with. I also love the people I work with. They are a blessing here. They help with anything that you need. If you have to be off or if you are busy with something else, they pitch in and help. We all work as a team here, and it’s just a wonderful place to work. Pooler, this building is great too. It’s a very nice place, comfortable and everyone is so friendly. I’m very happy to be in Pooler. People want to work here and stay here. St. Joseph’s/Candler, I think, is phenomenal. Everyone from leadership down is very helpful, very kind and loving. Everyone is patient-oriented, putting the patient first. I like to see that.” 

Meet Tara Meade (pictured on the left) and Kathleen Abbott, our two pathologist assistants at St. Joseph’s/Candler. They work out of the lab at Candler Hospital and receive tissue samples and portions of organs to dissect and study, looking for cancer and other diseases from the samples they receive from various areas of the hospital and outside offices. They then report their findings for the pathologists to review. We asked each of them what they love about being our only two dedicated pathologist assistants.

Kathleen: “What I love about my job is it’s different every day. I’m seeing different organs every day. I’m seeing different pathologic processes in even the same organs. It’s never boring. It’s really exciting, and I like how hands on it is. I’m actually getting to touch these organs and dissect them every day.”

Tara: “I agree with all of that, and I’d add that we learn something new every day. There’s always a new genetic abnormality, or the doctor may think the patient has a renal tumor, but it’s not, so they send it to us asking, ‘What is this?’ We communicate and work with the surgeons, the pathologists and then they communicate with the oncologists. We’re an integral part of the patient’s care that no one really knows about. We are kind of rare. There are only about 3,200 of us in the country and only 11 training programs. It’s not a well-known field, but we love it. And, I’ve worked at several places, and St. Joseph’s/Candler has been the best place to work by far.” 

Meet Seth Shrader, manager of health promotion and screening. Our health promotion program is responsible for wellness screenings for our Savannah Business Group (SBG) companies, firefighter and EMT physicals and includes the Bē Health and Well-Being program at Heartwood. Seth, who has worked here for 12 years, is responsible for staffing screenings and physicals and scheduling them throughout the year. He’ll go onsite to our SBG partners to help with labs and biometrics. He also handles invoices and paperwork.

“I really like the people I work with. Health promotions works with the Wellness Center, cardiac rehab and many other departments throughout the health system. We all have a good relationship. We do something different every day. We could be at the ports doing screenings one day and then doing a firefighter physical the next. We get to go out in the community and help and meet new people every day.”

“Especially with the screenings, it’s an opportunity for us to catch conditions early. Probably one of the biggest things we’ve helped catch early is diabetes. Every year, we find people with high A1Cs, and they had no idea. We’re able to find it early and get them in our diabetes management program here. We’ve also caught people with elevated PSAs, and we’re able to get them in a doctor’s office and checked out. It’s very rewarding.” 

Meet Stacey Brown, manager of benefits and compensation in the Human Resources department. Stacey has worked here since 2007 with all but one year in human resources. Stacey evaluates all paperwork that comes in regarding employment, such as terminations, transfers and salary changes, and then distributes amongst the team to process. She also evaluates salaries to make sure we are competitive in the market with our rates, as well as assessing cost of living increases to report to leadership and finance. Additionally, she oversees all of our benefits and makes sure all co-workers understand and are properly enrolled and then answers any questions about benefits or claims throughout the entire  year. That includes managing the monthly benefit enrollment orientation for new hires.

“I am a people person so I like helping people. I focus on customer service, providing excellent customer service. I know that’s important to St. Joseph’s/Candler to provide excellent customer service always so we instill that in the team here. We are here to support our co-workers. I enjoy making a difference when I can help somebody.”

“Our mission and values are what has kept me here for 17 years. I honestly believe in them and feel like I work and live by them. Caring for other people is important to me. It goes hand-in-hand to care for them to want to help them and get that gratification and satisfaction in helping others. I really feel like this health system cares for us. Also, all the work we do in the community means a lot to me.”

Meet Alejandra Miramontes, outreach team leader with the St. Joseph’s/Candler Laboratory. She makes sure all client lab results are sent out, taking care of any client problems and then educating staff at the draw locations, primary care offices and client services. She assists with interviews and hiring of new lab co-workers at the outpatient sites and makes sure that any lab work that has to be sent to an outside reference lab gets taken care of.

“What I enjoy about my job professionally is helping the clients, helping our team learn and making sure that everything is OK at the end of the day. Sometimes I get to talk to patients, and they are usually really nice, and I enjoy that direct contact and helping them. My co-workers are great. We’re all really close. If I am not here for a day, they all jump in and help. I enjoy working with them. This is home. I appreciate the health system’s values. It’s my co-workers, our team and what I do that keeps me here. This building (Plaza B/the Danny Brown Building) is a plus too.”

Meet Katrina Richards, registered respiratory therapist in the Bronchoscopy Suite at Candler Hospital. Katrina has worked here for 31 years. The majority of what Katrina and the Bronch Suite team does is diagnostic navigational bronchoscopies looking for masses in or near the lungs using Monarch robotic technology. They also do endobronchial ultrasounds to biopsy lymph nodes. But it’s not always about cancer. She can do traditional bronchoscopies for patients with COPD and pneumonia for both outpatients and inpatients in critical care.

“I really love this group of people that I work with. It’s more like family than it is work. I think the coolest part of what I do is having had the opportunity over this long period of time that I’ve been doing this to see how much our role has changed and what we are capable of doing now. Just 20 years ago, there was no such thing as navigational bronch. We have technology now that we are actually able to do the equivalent of a CT during the procedure. That adds another layer of accuracy to the robotic program. Really what I have seen is this increase in the ability to diagnosis these patients and diagnosis them early so you have much better outcomes. We are seeing patients live so much longer than 20 years ago, and it’s really awesome.”

“Most of these patients come in and know they are going to leave with a diagnosis and that can be hard. You keep that in mind and treat them with a lot of care and compassion and understanding. Providing comfort is a big thing – that’s why I do this. That’s why I started doing this. I want to take care of people and families too. Candler has always felt like home even when I was in clinical rotations here. We have an amazing group of co-workers in this hospital. I think this health system goes above and beyond to make sure everyone is happy. I have never wanted to go anywhere else. This is home.”

Meet Tiffany McCauley, team lead in Communication Services at Candler Hospital, who also occasionally floats to St. Joseph’s. Tiffany has worked in the Communications department for almost 18 years. She is responsible for scheduling and making sure her team is in the right place at the right time to control the switch board (phone system). She handles paperwork and trains new co-workers, but she also doesn’t shy away from jumping in and answering phone calls herself. Our phones ring non-stop, receiving calls from patient rooms, doctors and nurses and mostly outside calls.

“I love being on the board. Especially with the outside callers, we are their first point of contact. Since they are reaching us, I always want myself and my team to have a friendly smile and be courteous at all times because you never know what a person is going through on the other end. If you give them that respect and let them know you are here to help, it gets better.”

“I also love interacting with my co-workers and meeting people in other departments. I’m a people person. I see it throughout the hospital but specifically in our department, we are all comfortable with each other. It’s like a big family. We work well off of one another, and Ms. Vanessa (Roseman, manager of Switchboard Operations) is a big part of that. She brings that calm and always has a cheery smile and that makes you want to smile more. I also love our faith-based approach to care. I love that we grow as a family and community. I was invited to be on CEO Council and enjoyed that tremendously. I learned a lot. We are bringing more jobs into the system and the community, which I think is really fantastic.”

Meet Heather Cocks, clerical coordinator with SJ/C Primary Care in Richmond Hill. Heather has worked for our Physician Network for almost six years in our Podiatry office, Pooler Primary Care office and the last three in Richmond Hill. She works the front desk, answering phones, scheduling patients, helping with co-pays and balances and other needs of the providers, practice and especially patients.

“I enjoy helping people. I’ve been in the medical field for 16 years now. I started out in the hospital doing clinical work so this is fairly new moving to the clerical side of things, but I love being around people and helping them. Our patients are amazing. We have a really good group of patients. They are such wonderful people. This is also a great organization to work for. I’ve never worked in a place where I’ve felt so appreciated, and not just by the providers but also other co-workers, management and with our patients as well. It’s a wonderful feeling to be here.”

Meet LaCyntè Johnson, transport dispatcher for St. Joseph’s Hospital. LaCyntè has worked here for 16 years, all in transport with the last six as dispatcher. She is responsible for prioritizing patient transport jobs in the system and escalating them when needed. As the team lead, she’s also responsible for scheduling and helping out with transporting patients when short of help or overwhelmed.

“Me in my role and the personality I have, I love helping people and talking to people. My motto is treat everyone how you want to be treated. I love talking to patients. It’s part of my responsibility to make sure we are providing the right customer service and correct care. Many times, we are the first person that a patient sees and the last. We make sure to say, ‘Thank you for letting us take care of you’ and always have a smile on our faces. I’ve been in my department for 16 years because I love what I do.”

“I love that this is a spiritual environment and God’s love is in our mission. I am a very compassionate person and accountability is important to me. I make sure whatever is going on I’m going to be accountable for it. That’s one thing that’s kept me in the building.”  

Meet Inez Johnson, Executive Secretary for the Office of Medical Affairs. Inez has held the role in the Office of Medical Affairs for the past five years. In the 30 plus years that Inez has been employed with SJ/C, she has worked in the Respiratory Therapy Department, Operating Room, Managed Care and System Quality Performance/Joint Commission Accreditation. From the Operating Room to having a degree in Business Office Technologies, Lean Six Sigma Yellow and Green Belt, Project Management etc., she’s not new to how things work throughout both facilities. 

Nevertheless, her current role in the Office of Medical Affairs keeps her pretty busy because no two days are the same, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.  Because various departments report to the Office of Medical Affairs, such as System Quality Performance, Clinical Care Coordination and Medical Staff Services, she schedules meetings with the VP of Medical Affairs and reviews the yearly departmental budgets. She assists Dr. Julia Mikell (VP of Medical Affairs) in the daily work of the Medical Affairs Office by preparing documents for meetings, dictations, documentation for physician grants and payment, organizing her daily schedule and ensuring she has what she needs to fulfill her daily tasks and events. She prepares the agenda, minutes, A3 reports and additional documentation for the monthly Quality 20/23 Committee meetings, Cardiology/Cardiothoracic M&M Peer Review meetings, along with other scheduled or unscheduled meetings.  She’s not afraid to take it all on, while maintaining the confidentially of meeting discussions or other events that occur within the Office of Medical Affairs. As a team player, she’s also not afraid to walk down the hallway and pop her head in the other offices or doctor’s lounge to see how she can lend a helping hand or learn something new.

“I enjoy the daily activity of my job and that every day is not the same, especially when you work in the office with Dr. Julia Mikell, VP of Medical Affairs who is very proactive in her role as VPMA. It has always been important to me to fulfill and understand how my job role fits into the daily functions of SJ/C’s improvement plan, patient care, accreditation, etc.  Not only do I understand the functionality of the organization, but I understand and believe in what it stands for. I believe SJ/C stands for all of the six brush strokes – Compassion, Quality, Integrity, Courtesy, Accountability and Team Work. I attended Catholic school for 12 years and the Mercy nuns ensured that we understood the importance of these values that I now stand for.”

“I understand that when GOD is included in our daily plan, no matter what the day may look like, we come back to what we stand for, and that’s our faith and our belief in healing the sick while delivering the best quality patient care.” 

Meet Jesse Decker, clinical pharmacist at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Jesse has worked in the main pharmacy for nine years. He’s part of the team that processes and verifies prescription orders that come in from all units of the hospital. On average, they process more than 1,000 orders a day and field a couple hundred phone calls a day. As the clinical pharmacist, Jesse is responsible for verifying all prescriptions that come in and go out before using the tube system to send to the different units.

“I originally came from a restaurant background, and I enjoy the controlled chaos of the main pharmacy and keeping things running efficiently because it can get very busy. We get lots of orders and lots of phone calls and keep things on track. I really enjoy all the people I work with. It’s definitely a family environment down here.”

“I really wanted to work in a hospital setting because I get to use all my clinical knowledge that I learned in school and get to apply that on a day-to-day basis. It’s great to be part of a team that is helping save lives. As far as St. Joseph’s/Candler in particular, it’s nice to work for a hospital that’s independent. That’s pretty unique today. I really enjoy that about this health system.”

Meet Loretta Pate, unit clerk/monitor tech in the Intensive Care Unit at Candler Hospital. Loretta has worked here for 34 years in several departments and in several roles. As a unit clerk, Loretta is the ultimate multi-tasker. She needs to able to adapt to any situation. She answers the phone and does consults. She orders supplies and picks up supplies. She works closely with the nurses and doctors, and while she may not perform hands-on patient care, if a patient needs a juice, she’ll get it. If a patient needs a food plate or ice, she’ll get it.

“Ultimately, we do whatever it takes to take care of the patient. I enjoy helping people as best I can. My goal is to make the day easier, the job easier for my co-workers and help save lives. I was 19 when I started working here. Now, I’m older than almost everyone I work with. But, they say I don’t look like it; I don’t act like it. As long as I can make every moment count, that’s what works. Every department I’ve worked in, the co-workers have been great. It’s always felt like family here.”

Meet Michelle Todd, offsite nurse with Occupational Health Services. She’s worked for the health system since 1991, starting at Candler Hospital before the Joint Operating Agreement. She manages about 50 physical locations within a 250-mile radius, and there’s about 800 co-workers in the program. She makes sure our offsite co-workers meet their annual occupational health requirements and insurance measures. This allows our co-workers from Richmond Hill to Statesboro to Jesup to Baxley and all our South Carolina locations to get their flu shot, take their TB test, have their blood pressure and other metrics recorded while staying in their work environment and helping their patients. You may also find her bringing treat bags and goodies to make our offsite co-workers feel a little extra special.

“I love the co-workers. They are my favorite thing about my job. I do enjoy what I do but I really enjoy being able to provide something to the co-workers. I try to help bridge the gap so they don’t feel so disconnected from the main hospitals.”

“Nursing is an interesting field in that if you decide what you are doing isn’t exactly what you want to do, you don’t have to change health systems, you can just change departments. I’ve never wanted to go anywhere besides St. Joseph’s/Candler. I think it’s a great health system to work for, and I feel like I work in the best department in the health system.” 

Meet John Wells, HVAC II with the Plant Operations department at St. Joseph’s Hospital and occasionally at Candler Hospital, where he started 21 years ago. John helps maintain all of the air conditioning systems, chiller systems, refrigerators, ice machines and more. He and his co-workers also change air filters – in fact, on average, our plant ops team at St. Joseph’s Hospital alone changes more than 5,000 of them a year. They maintain all the machines related to air conditioning or refrigeration and repair anything that may break.

“I got a lot of history here. My father worked here. He was a male nurse back in the ‘70s. My sisters work here. It’s family here. That’s pretty much what keeps me here is family and the people I work with. I enjoy working with the guys I work with, and whenever something goes down, we all come together. It’s a team effort type of thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, a painter – if something goes south, we help each other. We are all friends away from the hospital. We go fishing. We go hunting. We’re all friends away from the hospital, which gives us a better relationship when we are here at work.”

“I enjoy coming into work because you never know what you’re going to run into. It’s not the same thing every day. It might be the same building, yes, but I might be working on a refrigerator one day and working on a chiller the next or an ice machine that breaks. I could also come in one day and be moving furniture. We all work together with each other. That’s what I like about coming to work.” 

Meet Tammie Lovett, lead social worker at Candler Hospital. Tammie is the social worker for ICU and PCU and has worked here for 13 years. She serves as the discharge social worker for patients. If they need hospice care, she can help get referrals. If they need nursing home care, she can help with placement. If they need assistance safely being discharge to their home, she can help find the resources the family needs. She addresses any social needs the patient needs in order to be safely discharged. As the lead social worker, Tammie serves as the preceptor for new social workers and assist the other hospital social workers if they need help or additional resources.

“I love helping people. I can advocate for anyone. That’s my passion. A lot of times here in the hospital you see patients come in and they don’t have family or friends to speak up for them. I like to advocate for them. That’s one thing, and then doing whatever it takes to make sure that discharge is safe. Sometimes it’s giving them a bus ticket to be closer to family, or a homeless person who needs a meal or transportation. I think if it were me here, I’d want someone to help me. If it’s someone elderly, I think about my parents, and I’d want someone to help them. I really love helping people.”

“I love that our mission includes ‘Rooted in God’s love.’ I sing in my choir. I help with my youth. I do a lot to try to help people. I want that blessing. I’ll pray with some of the patients They’ve given me messages that I needed that day. I also love this team on this floor. We all work for a safe discharge. It’s that team, that family-oriented relationship that we have here that is so awesome on this floor. I love St. Joseph’s/Candler. They gave me an opportunity to come make a difference with these patients, and I’m glad I am able to step up to that next level and now help the other social workers make that difference as well.”

Meet Khailiah Robinson, workforce developer at St. Mary’s Community Center. Khailiah has worked in that role for five and a half years. She helps clients prepare for finding a job, including resume building, interview prep and even what to wear. She then helps them find a job or can recommend training at area schools, such as Savannah Tech, for certifications or licenses. She also can directly reach out to businesses she’s built strong relationships with to place clients in an open position. But it starts with making sure the client is ready for the workforce. If someone is homeless, she’ll try to help find them a place to live. If a mom needs child care in order to work, she can help with that. Her goal is to set them up for success once they land a job.

“I truly feel like I am in the place God needs me to be because it doesn’t feel like work to me while I’m here. I love what I do here. I love implementing change. I love having that client that comes to me one way and by the time I’m done with them, they are a whole new person. I love seeing that tangible thing. I love Sr. Pat (Baber, director of St. Mary’s Community Center). She is the best boss I’ve literally ever had, even to the point where she’s my baby’s God mother and has Sr. Pat’s middle name. I love my co-workers. We all in this building do such great work. It’s all-hands-on-deck. Whatever we need to do, wherever we need to go to help each other. That’s what I love about it too. I love our team here.”

“If the hospital didn’t have this forward thinking that we need to be out in the community, where the people are, then I think we’d miss so many people that we can serve. As an organization, I think it shows the community that we truly care about them. To work for this company has been wonderful for me. I love that I’m able to wear my faith out loud. More than anything that I do in this room, I pray for people. I encourage them. I love that I’m able to have the freedom to show my faith.”

Meet Teresa Lee, an environmental technician at Candler Hospital. Teresa has worked here for 15 years and currently works on 4 North. She cleans anywhere from 20 to 25 rooms during her shift. She touches base with patients at least three times a day to introduce herself and clean and disinfect the room and then check in on the patient before her shift is over.

“I enjoy making people feel comfortable in knowing that I’m cleaning and fighting germs for them. But what makes it really enjoyable is when I go into a room and introduce myself and the patient may feel down, but when I go in with that smile on my face, and then they say, ‘You brightened my day.’ I always ask them about their day, ask them how their night went, and I thank them for choosing St. Joseph’s/Candler. I also always tell them I pray for them. I treat my patients as if they are one of my family members. I do care. I can have my own problems, but I’m still going in that room with a smile on my face.”

“I enjoy working here. I try to be friendly with everyone and whatever they try to teach me, I try to learn. I love 4 North. Everyone is friendly. The staff shows accountability and compassion. They show they really care for what we do as environmental techs and thank us every day for what we do. I love my 4 North. I treat them as if they are my family.” 

Meet John Ashley IV, a physician assistant with St. Joseph’s Cardiology/Cardiology Associates of Savannah. John has worked here 19 years. He helps coordinate patient care of cardiology patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital. If, for example, an emergency room doctor or hospitalist believes a patient needs to see a cardiologist, John will first meet the patient, evaluate their problem and match them up with the on-call cardiologists or another cardiologist in the practice, depending on the patient’s need. He also works closely with the other mid-level providers in the practice, who work alongside the physicians for patient care. He’ll see patients before and after procedures and assist the cardiologists in any way necessary.

“I do enjoy interacting with the patients. People are fun. It’s interesting to hear their stories and what their life is like outside of here. It brings a lot satisfaction to explain what is going on inside their heart and help them understand what we are doing to help them get better. Also, I feel like we have a really great team of doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, technologists in all parts of the hospital. On the whole, people have really good work ethics and are caring and compassionate. It’s really fun to work with co-workers who share your same values.”

“I was born here (at St. Joseph’s) so it’s come full circle. The Cath recovery room on 2North here at St. Joseph’s used to be Labor and Delivery, so I was basically born where I am working. Then, watching my dad (John Ashley III), he really valued this place as a good corporation to work for. I was a candy striper in eighth grade on the fifth floor. I worked as a pharmacy technician briefly in college. It was fun to come back to a place that I knew very well to work. St. Joseph’s/Candler being a faith-based organization is really important to me. Being a non-profit organization is also important. I have never felt pressure here to do anything but take care of the patients. St. Joseph’s/Candler does a really good job of putting the patient first, and I think that makes it a good place to work.”

Meet Sabrina Bryant, Program Director for The Center for Hyperbarics and Wound Care in Hinesville. Sabrina has worked for our wound care department for 13 years, starting at Candler Hospital. Now in Hinesville, she is responsible for the day-to-day center operations, staff management, financial management and community education. She visits provider offices around the region promoting our wound care program in Hinesville. Sabrina also works closely with the doctors, nurses and other coworkers to make sure the Hinesville office runs efficiently.

“What I enjoy most are the patients. Many patients come to wound care with wounds they have had for quite some time, and they are weary as to the treatment they’re going to receive. I like watching the transition from being weary to overjoyed with their wound healing process. During this transition, the patients become a part of our family. One of the main benefits of the center here in Hinesville is that we are able to treat patients who live in the vicinity of this center, making it more convenient than traveling to Savannah for wound care. We primarily see patients who live in Hinesville, Ludowici, Jesup, Glennville, Midway and Richmond Hill.”

“What I value the most about St. Joseph’s/Candler is the level of care that we provide to our patients.”

Meet Andrea Manley, licensed advanced practitioner clinical dietitian at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Andrea has been with St. Joseph’s Hospital for almost 10 years and previously worked at Candler Hospital for six years. As a clinical dietitian in a hospital setting, Andrea and the other dietitians develop a nutrition plan that matches each patient’s clinical picture and help to make their overall nutritional status better. Dietitians identify malnutrition and alert the physician, who diagnosis, and then our dietitians help treat it. They work as part of the team with doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others to help the patient get better and nutrition plays a large part of that. Andera also educates patients, whether it’s preventative or corrective dietary recommendations.

“I enjoy when people are excited to learn. I enjoy when someone returns and says, ‘I’ve lost 50 pounds this year,’ or I see someone in the community and they remember me. I also like when I catch something that could have been very bad. I like the team approach here, and I love when patients have positive outcomes because of nutrition and that happens a lot.”

“I love that St. Joseph’s/Candler is faith-based and that you really feel that working here. St. Joseph’s is a very family-friendly environment. I like the feeling of going to work and I’m with my family, and I do feel that way about this hospital. I feel that’s the way people treat their patients as well. For the most part, patients are happy coming here. People say good things about it here, even the food.”

Meet the Baxley SOURCE/CCSP team under Mission Services. Pictured from front left to right are Jilda Brown, Jessy Johnson, Brittany Holland, Hannah Calhoun and Ali Marie Christopher. From back left to right are Carin Tyre, Thad Norris, Valaree Thornton, Amberly Wigley and Joy Duncan. (Not pictured are Sheila Weaver, Tanya Lewis and Shandale Taylor.) CCSP and SOURCE are case management waiver programs that serve and help the elderly and disabled who are appropriate for nursing home level of care but want to stay in their home. Our team of case managers and nurses develop a care plan for each individual patient that they see in 19 counties that the Baxley office serves, making sure the patient and caregiver have what they need for successful and safe care in their home and community. St. Joseph’s/Candler opened the Baxley SOURCE office 23 years ago.

“The most rewarding thing is helping the people. We’ve served more than 3,000 people over the years with just SOURCE, not counting CCSP, and that’s pretty impactful for our region. It shows that St. Joseph’s/Candler care for patients continues outside the hospital. We have patients for three, four, five years and help sustain them at home and that’s very rewarding. For many of our patients, if they didn’t have someone advocating for them to be able to have medical care, they would be without medical care. We want to help keep you at home, in your community, and we want to give you what you need to be successful and safe.”

“This wouldn’t be successful without everyone working together. We have a great team out here. We care about each other. We care about who we serve. This team lives out the mission and values of the health system. We all have a desire to want to help people. We are really a family here.” 

Meet Tamika Lewis, department secretary for Candler ENT/Georgia Ear, Norse & Throat Specialists in our Physician Network. Tamika has worked here for 12 years come this November. As department secretary, Tamika is responsible for customer interaction, including answering the phone, returning calls, scheduling patients, checking patients in and out, helping them with their hearing aid supplies, as well as day-to-day operations of the office such as handling deposits and receiving and shipping out packages.

“I like interacting with the patients and seeing the happiness on their faces whether it’s the adults or pediatric patients that we have here. I would say overall we see our patients like family, and we treat them the way we’d want our family to be treated. If they are not blood related, it doesn’t matter. They are still considered family, and we want to give them the best care that they deserve. We have returning patients, and many always say goodbye to me before they leave. Our patients are great. We also have a good team here. We’re all like brothers and sisters. I have an overall enjoyment working here.”

Meet Katrina Singleton, registered cardiac sonographer for non-invasive cardiology at Candler Hospital. Katrina has worked here for 10 years. She performs ultrasounds of people’s heart to help cardiologists assess their mechanical function. Those images help rule out heart failure or make sure there’s no significant valvular disease that would be critical and maybe even require open heart surgery. She does a preliminary report for the referring cardiologist, who then gives the patient the diagnosis.

“I enjoy my co-workers. I think we are a pretty awesome team, if I do say so myself. I feel like I belong with this team. We are pretty small and a tight knit group, and we all work well together. It feels more like a family than just co-workers at a job. But I think I most like the patient interaction. A lot of times, we get patients that may not feel well or be in a bad mood or had an unfavorable experience somewhere else, so sometimes I take it as a personal challenge to turn them around. Usually by the time patients leave, they are smiling, chatting and laughing, and that makes me feel like job well done. A lot of people are anxious, so I aim to keep people calm and their minds off worrying. I reassure them this is just a test; you can worry later.”

Meet Sean White, patient registration specialist at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Any given day, Sean will help register patients who need imaging tests in radiology or are checking in for treatment or a procedure in the emergency room, day surgery or The Heart Hospital. Sean makes sure we have all the patient information needed so the patient can smoothly proceed to their next stop in the hospital. And with that being a high-volume area of the hospital, helping patients is a nonstop process for Sean from the time he walks in until the time he leaves.

“What I enjoy about my job is helping people get from the front desk to my desk to the tests or procedures they are here to get. I love working in a public setting, and I love helping people, especially when they come in an environment where they may be stressed. It can be stressful coming into a healthcare environment, and you don’t know what may happen. My job is to try to have them feel destressed, and that can be with a simple smile or simple acknowledgement. I look at everyone as a human being and not a number. You try to treat everyone across the board the same. When I get out of my car every day, I don’t know who I am coming in here to help, but I know I’m coming here to help somebody. So when someone comes to my desk, and they are upset or confused, but then leave saying, ‘You made my experience enjoyable; you made it easier,’ then I reached one person, and I think I did my job.”

“I have to honestly say about working for St. Joseph’s/Candler that I love our mission, especially as far as the spiritual background. To work at a place where you can talk about God and Christ and pray, that’s encouraging because most jobs don’t want you doing that. I know we all have our preferences and our differences, but personally I love the spiritual background at St. Joseph’s/Candler and that it’s part of our mission that we stand behind.”

Meet Caroline Brif, lead certified athletic trainer who works at our Urgent Care facility at the Pooler Campus. Caroline has worked for St. Joseph’s/Candler since 2011 as an athletic trainer with our high school partners assisting their athletes. Within the last three years, she’s moved to the urgent care setting. She sees patients who come in with musculoskeletal complaints, such as sprains, strains or broken bones. She evaluates them and then works with the provider on the proper diagnosis and treatment. Caroline can order X-rays and apply boots, braces or slings to help stabilize the patient if needed. She also sets the patient up with referrals and appointments if further specialty treatment, such as seeing an orthopedist, is necessary.

“I love working with patients. It’s a lot different in this setting because I only see them one time. I try to make as much as an impact as I can with them. That may mean sitting down with them for a few minutes and teaching them a home exercise plan or giving them tips and tricks of what to do to get better. I feel like I can still make an impact even though I’m only seeing people one time because you don’t typically follow up in urgent care.”

“I have really enjoyed working in urgent care. I feel like we have a great department. We work well together as a team. There is always support here, which doesn’t always happen when in a small school setting; you can kind of be on an island, by yourself. I really enjoy working for St. Joseph’s/Candler and having that team in our department and co-workers you can rely on.” 

Meet Bobby Scott, buyer in the purchasing department for St. Joseph’s/Candler. Bobby has worked here for 20 years, starting in housekeeping then central distribution and now as a buyer. As a buyer, Bobby helps order supplies for the main hospitals, as well as off-site locations and offices. Supplies can include anything from gloves and other PPE to equipment, such as surgical instruments or operation screws, to some medications and lab tests to letterhead and business cards. Bobby helps make sure each department has what they need to take care of patients and get their jobs done. Our buyers (four in total) also make sure budgets are met, and we are purchasing items from the best vendors while meeting state rules and regulations.

Within the last year, SJ/C buyers in purchasing have processed more than 23,000 purchase orders, which turns into 71,500 line items (think of a giant grocery receipt with everything you bought).

“I enjoy my work environment, and I enjoy making sure that the departments are getting the best products available, especially to assist their patients. If they don’t have the right products, it’s very difficult for them to take care of their patients. That’s the main goal, but at the same time, we have to manage time and costs to help us meet our financial goals. I believe our contribution as a team is important to the success of SJ/C.”

“This job allows me to assist citizens within our community and surrounding counties. People think of St. Joseph’s and Candler of just being here in Savannah, but there’s 33 counties we serve. One of the things I enjoy about St. Joseph’s/Candler is we are still treating diseases and illnesses, but there are also these outreach initiatives like our resource centers and St. Mary’s Health Center. I enjoy seeing the health care system provide so many services to people in the community. This is an awesome place to work. St. Joseph’s/Candler is the place to be”

Meet Pattie Barnes, mammographer staff technologist at the Telfair Pavilion. Pattie has worked here for 30 years basically since the Telfair Pavilion opened its doors. She currently works in the diagnostic center, assisting patients who have to come in for diagnostic callbacks. They may need additional imaging, whether it be magnification views, ultrasound or MRI. She can help with biopsies, needle localization and reflector placement. She may be with a patient for 30 minutes or an hour and a half. Between the screening center and the diagnostic center of the Telfair Pavilion, they see approximately 125 patients a day.

“This for me has been more of a passion than a job. I didn’t start out thinking I was going to do mammography. I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field, and even when I graduated from Armstrong in radiology, I didn’t know I was going to do a sub-specialty like mammography. When I started it, I was little apprehensive because we deal with cancer on a daily basis, and I just didn’t know if I could do that, but with the patients here with this type of disease, they are treated with such compassion here. It’s really become a passion for me to help them and be a part of a team that helps our patients.”

“I love figuring things out, and we do that here. Every day is a case-by-case scenario. I like to be challenged, and I feel like I’m challenged here, especially with all the new modalities coming. There’s new stuff all the time so that makes it very interesting too. For me, it’s also about the team here. I’ve seen a lot come and go, but we’ve always had a great team. It’s very well organized, and we’re always willing to pitch in and help. I have worked at places where I didn’t have that, but I think St. Joseph’s/Candler promotes teamwork, and I really appreciate that.”

Meet Sr. Donna Marie Banfield, Sister of the Blessed Sacrament, who serves as regional chaplain primarily in Bluffton but also at our Pooler Campus. Sr. Donna Marie started here in 2015 at the African-American Health Information & Resource Center. She started the new role as regional chaplain in 2020. As regional chaplain, Sr. Donna Marie serves both our patients and co-workers in South Carolina and Pooler. She prays with them, visits with patients during chemotherapy treatment and offers a listening ear to anyone who walks through the doors.

“When this position was created, I didn’t know if it was something I could do, but Sr. Margie (Beatty), she told me I could do it. I have to say, I felt the Lord was asking me to do this, and I never had that experience in my life, where I had a sense that God was saying, ‘No, this is where I want you.’ It has been a tremendous blessing. I love the employees here and the patients. It’s just a blessing to work with them as they journey with this disease. They also do a lot for me because they are very positive. They appreciate the prayer opportunity; they appreciate the visits.”

“With the faith-based aspect of our health system, I just feel it’s powerful. I do know the patients appreciate knowing that. I think when they come here, they do notice a difference. I believe that the spirit our co-workers carry is picked up by patients and they feel it. We can talk about it but you also feel it. That’s the gift of the health system.”

Meet Lamar Johnson, team lead for security at Williams Court Apartments. Williams Court is a residential building, serving the elderly and disabled, and has 151 units. It’s independent living, but coordinators are on hand to assist the residents with any needs. Lamar is responsible for wellness checks on all the residents to make sure everyone is OK. He also makes sure everyone is following the rules, and he checks in and out visitors to the building. As team lead, Lamar is responsible for the contract security workers that also work at Williams Court. Lamar himself started out as a contract security worker at Williams Court seven years ago, and became an official St. Joseph’s/Candler co-worker as team lead two years ago.

“There’s 150 people here, and they all have different personalities, and that’s what makes the place. No one is the same. It’s something different every day, and that’s what I look forward to. The residents, you have your wild ones, your calm ones, and you never know what to expect, but that’s what makes the job fun. The residents, they are great. I enjoy helping people, whether it’s through conversation or physically helping them. Talking to them, that’s the biggest part for me. That’s what I love. I also like my job because it’s spiritual based, and I’m a Bishop. Everything just fell into place. I started here seven years ago when I worked for a security company, and I fell in love with it. I’m proud to work for a health system that isn’t just hospital based, but does outreach too. It’s something needed and not just in communities like this, but communities everywhere.”

Meet Lynne Lane, medical coder in the revenue cycle department serving oncology patients. Lynne has worked here almost 23 years. She reviews patient cases, going over each and every charge, verifying dates, diagnoses and treatments to create any claims that need to be sent to insurance carriers. She makes sure the claims are as clean and accurate as possible and meet the different policies and demands of the many insurance companies our patients have.

“I enjoy trying to take pressure off the patients. If I can send the claim to these insurance carriers as clean as it can be, they can give their authorization that it’s a true claim and pay that. I’m trying to cut out the denials and rejects and the things that are going to hold up their payment. When our patients get these bills for this astronomical amount of money, it just increases their anxiety. So it’s our job over here to try to make this as painless as possible. The thing about revenue oncology, we have such a wonderful team and our leaders are so knowledgeable. It’s not about the money, honestly, it’s about the patients, and that’s what we are here for. If we as billers and coders can make this as simple as possible, it just eases patients’ minds.”

“One thing I love about this health system is we have the latest and greatest technology. If there’s anything new, we are checking it out. We have such dedicated people that are trying their hardest to help solve any problem for our patients. It’s really overwhelming sometimes at how far people will reach down to help people, and I love that part. We treat them as human beings. You are not a number. You are an actual human being, and we are here to help you today, and we are going to give you the best service we can. Another thing I like about St. Joseph’s/Candler is we are all in this together. There’s no I over here. There’s only Us, and we’re in it together. That means everything to me.”


Meet Philip Gillette, market relations/physician relations for our Managed Care department. Philip’s role is to basically serve as a liaison between physicians and the community. He sets up meetings among doctors so they know who they could refer their patients to, as well as the service lines each physician offers. He also works with our nurse navigators at the LCRP by introducing them to physicians throughout the region. Additionally, Philp meets with service line managers so he is aware of all the available offerings to our physicians.

“I am very fortunate. It’s an important role, and I don’t think too many people know about it. Doctors here want to meet face to face. They want to know who they are sending their patients to. I think it’s embedded in the community. It’s a great job. I get to be outside. I get to talk. I love to talk. People know that. I like to talk with a  purpose. It’s also great because of the connections I get to make, and not just with the physicians and not just with the community, but it really affects the patients. Sometimes patients don’t know about a particular doctor or surgeon. Or, they will ask me, ‘What’s this doctor like?’ or ‘What does it mean I’m going to see an interventional gastroenterologist?’ These connections mean a lot to me because it affects patient care.”

Meet Monica Young, physician recruiter for Physician Network. Monica has worked here for five years and is a driving force behind the hiring of many of our doctors, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners. Once a job becomes available, Monica writes a job posting, which is posted on various platforms. She’ll do the initial interview with qualified candidates and writes up a report for the vice president of Physician Network to review. She’s then responsible for setting up second phone interviews with administration and/or physicians from the practice with an opening. She checks all references and handles arranging all in-person interviews from the travel plans to a detailed itinerary, including taking a welcome basket to their hotel room. Monica makes sure candidates get to all the necessary locations during their stay, and if they are hired, she’ll assist with the onboarding process.

“I’ve been doing this for 21 years. My job is a sales job, and it’s really easy to sell something you believe in. I’ve worked for other health systems, so I have something to compare it to. This has been my favorite, and I hope to stay here the duration of my career.  I love making new friends and meeting all the new people. I love working for St. Joseph’s/Candler. I’m so impressed with the health system. They really live their mission – not-for-profit, faith-based. I was so impressed with the way they treated their employees during COVID. That really showed their true colors. I’m very proud to be a part of St. Joseph’s/Candler.”

Meet Brenda Rucker, cardiac sonographer in the echo lab at The Heart Hospital at St. Joseph’s Hospital. As one of the cardiac sonographers, Brenda does preliminary evaluations, imaging the heart with ultrasound. She is looking at heart muscle function, valve function and blood flow. She’s also looking to make sure nothing is growing abnormally in the heart or there’s no fluid present that shouldn’t be there. Then she’ll write up a report for the doctor who then decides the patient’s next course of treatment whether it’s medicine or surgery. On average, she sees between seven to nine patients a day.

“I think that one thing that always keeps people in their job is the people they work with. Do I like this job enough to stay, and it comes down to I don’t want to leave these people. I also enjoy the fact that we are on the front line. We are able to make a difference to what happens to them next. You try to be as accurate and observant of what you are doing so you can get the doctors all the information they need. I like meeting the patients. Everyone has their own story. There are patients that come in at disease, and you find a way to talk about their grandkids or favorite flower or what brought them here, things like that to make them comfortable.”

“One of the things I also like is I’m a Christian woman, and I like that idea that you can comfort patients and speak to them with a Christian perspective. I like that particularly about the health system.”

Meet John Wilson, manager of biomedical services with the Plant Operations department for the health system. John has worked here more than 27 years, starting out in the 1980’s at St. Joseph’s Hospital and returning to the health system in 1998. Biomedical services is responsible for maintenance, testing and inspecting all electronic medical equipment that is used to diagnosis, treat or comfort patients and caregivers. As manager, John coordinates his team’s activities, making sure they have all tools, parts and equipment needed to do their job correctly.

“Nurses, for example, it’s pretty obvious most are going to end up working at a hospital, but there are a lot of other duties and jobs and needs that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a hospital. Environmental services, grounds keepers, food services, accounting – all these different fields where you could end up with a job at any number of different types of businesses or enterprises, but you somehow found health care. Then the idea eventually clicks that you are part of a team that is working to heal patients physically, mentally and spiritually. You are part of a team that is promoting wellness and health and healing for patients. You feel special about that. Everyone in the health system adds to achieving that goal of healing. I feel proud of the image that we not just attempt to project, but to actually live within our community.”

Meet Beverly Sanders, director of IS applications. Beverly has worked for the health system for 34 years, spending 25 in information services. She and her team of managers, analysts, programmers, system integrators and report writers are responsible for nearly 200 applications. They make sure these applications, such as Meditech, run smoothly for the hospitals, cancer centers and physician offices. She also works closely with legal, compliance and risk management doing security audits.

“What I probably enjoy the most is finding innovative solutions for the business units that we serve; trying to gain efficiency so they can spend more time with their patients. I enjoy making sure they have the information they need to make clinical decisions. I also enjoy serving my team of co-workers. Information technology can be very stressful, and one of my Master’s is in counseling, and it has served me well. That counseling part, I use on a daily basis. I do enjoy that. We have very good working relationships with all our business units. They rely on us. We’re never bored. There is always something new happening, and we enjoy finding solutions to everyday problems.”

“What has kept me here for all these years is definitely the mission because you don’t stay in this field as long as I have without being rooted, grounded and established in something. For me, it is definitely the faith-based mission that has kept me here and being able to work my faith on a daily basis. I open my meetings with prayer. My team members are open to prayer and are not afraid to ask for it, so that is definitely  what has kept me here all these years, just working the mission of the hospital and serving because it is a ministry.”

Meet Bonnie Allen, office manager for our Pembroke Primary Care office. Bonnie has worked for the health system since 2005 beginning in radiation oncology at our Hilton Head office and then came to Pembroke eight years ago. As office manager, Bonnie makes sure the day-to-day operations run smoothly. She’ll help check patients in or out. She makes sure the staff has all the supplies they need to do their job. She’ll even clean the toilet. Her ultimate goal is to take care of their patients and make sure everyone is treated fairly when they come through the front door.

“I have such a great group that works here. We try to treat everybody like we want to be treated. I love my patients. I want them to see God through me. I want them to feel His presence through me. Like my patients make me feel, I want them to feel. I love my job. I love my patients. I love helping others. I truly do. It’s not work for me. I pray with the patients. We pray here in the morning as a staff. We have a good group here. I am honored to be here. My focus is Jesus Christ and being humble. I wouldn’t work somewhere where my values are not honored or respected, and I feel my values and St. Joseph’s/Candler values go together.”

Meet Barbara A. Lee-Pinkney, catering assistant at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Barbara has worked for the health system for more than 33 years, always in dietary. You may remember she started out running the salad bar in the cafeteria, but for the last 18 years, she’s been known as the Sandwich Queen. Barbara does all the prep, sets up the station and then makes sandwiches, wraps and even salads to order during our lunch hours. She can really do anything as she also helps with special events and backs up the cashiers.

“I am a people person. I serve you the way I want to be served. I won’t give you anything sloppy. I enjoy the people I work with. I enjoy the co-workers and family members that come through my line. Somebody may not want to be bother or some people may be having a bad day, so I like to be the clown. I want to make you laugh. If you come here enough, you’ll see I hug everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are. I hug everybody because I want to make everybody feel good. When I came here, I said I was going to stay five years. Well for me to stay here this long, it’s been a good health system to work for. The people are courteous. The people get along. It’s all about the people you work with.”

Meet Veronica Morrell, center intake coordinator for our Home Health department. Veronica is celebrating 30 years with St. Joseph’s/Candler this month, all with Home Health. She started out as a CNA and for the last four years has served as intake coordinator for our Savannah, Hinesville and Brunswick offices. Veronica helps screen each referral that comes in. She verifies insurance and confirms doctors’ orders to make sure we provide the services, such as wound care or physical therapy, that the patient needs. It’s Veronica’s goal to make sure everything is set up for the patient and family when they get home so it’s an easy transition.

“I love the people I come in contact with whether it’s the case managers or doctors I talk to or the patients I call. I enjoy that we all work together to make sure that everything is taken care of so the patient and family have a seamless transition. I also love the feeling of family we have here. We’ve been through so much together. Some of my co-workers, I’ve watched their children grow up, go to college, get married. As for me, they’ve been so supportive because I’ve had so many major changes in my life. When I came here, I was a 28-year-old, divorced mother of two. Since then, I’ve remarried. They were all here for that. My husband passed away in 2019, and they were there for that. They are my family. I also appreciate that they support you and your mental health because you can’t help the patient if you’re not in a good place. I’ve always had the freedom to go to my supervisor, even my director and speak candidly. And that’s what has kept me here for 30 years.”

Meet Jacqueline Swan, social work health coach in our Mission Services department. Jacqueline has worked here for almost 24 years in various capacities and now five years in Mission Services.  As a social work health coach, Jacqueline works with patients in our hospitals’ emergency departments. She assists patients on Medicaid or those without insurance find medical homes and other resources they may need. If the patient qualifies, she can refer them to St. Mary’s Health Center or our Good Samaritan Clinic so they can get follow-up care and treatment that may keep them from having to come back to the ED. She will schedule appointments for patients, call them to remind them of the appointment and follow up with them for six months. Jacqueline also helps them with other resources they may need such as rent or utility bill assistance or help finding food resources.

“I enjoy meeting the patients. I like talking with the patients. I like providing resources and assisting them. I’ve been told by my co-workers that I’m long winded. I know I am. I have to try to remember that, but when you sit down and establish a rapport with the patient, they start telling you things, which is all confidential, but it helps me learn their interests and needs. Then I can offer resources that they may not know about but need. And sometimes all they want is a listening ear, so you provide a listening ear.”

“I like the mission, the values, and I think St. Joseph’s/Candler does a really good job of living up to its mission and values. We have some grass roots programs that are helpful to the community such as African-American Health Information and Resource Center, St. Mary’s, Good Samaritan. I love the prayer we have on the intercom each morning. For me, before I go into a patient’s room, I always pray. I ask God to help me treat the patient the way I want to be treated and bring Him in, because you never know what a patient is going through. You have to have compassion and respect each patient.”

Meet Laurie Wasdin, systems analyst in our Human Resources department where she’s worked for 14 years. Laurie is the queen of numbers, running reports for managers and directors so they can make decisions regarding hiring or purchasing or other needs. She is also a support person in her department, assisting fellow co-workers with different programs and applications. Additionally, she helps administer job descriptions, appraisals and assists our education department with e-learning.

“I’m the helper. I like to be the helper. I also love numbers. I’m an expert in Excel. It’s one of my favorite programs. I love to work the data out. You can export so much data and organize it and create tables and give summaries. I feel like I’m contributing to leaders making decisions when they see the data. I try to put it in a way they can understand. I make it pretty so they understand and don’t have to surf and try to figure out what these numbers are telling them on this one piece of paper. To me, it’s like a puzzle. You have all these pieces, you ask all these questions and figure it out. I like to do that.”

“I also like all the different teams at St. Joseph’s/Candler and the large size of people that work here. Everyone is so friendly. I feel really proud to say I work for St. Joseph’s/Candler. People know who we are and what we do. I like when people ask questions about what I do after I just say, ‘I work at St. Joseph’s/Candler.’ It’s a great company to work for.”

Meet Kevin Outzs, clinical manager for inpatient rehabilitation at Candler Hospital. Kevin also is a licensed occupational therapist, and he just recently celebrated 25 years with the health system. As clinical manager, Kevin makes sure therapists are staffed not just in our inpatient rehab unit, but throughout the entire hospital. He addresses any issues that may arise and handles the other day-to-day operations of inpatient rehabilitation. But Kevin doesn’t sit at a desk all day. That would drive him nuts, he says. He still helps with patients as an occupational therapist. He says, ‘Occupation is what occupies your day.’ Therefore, our occupational therapists help patients be independent as far as getting out of bed each morning, bathing, getting dressed, whatever the patient needs to safely go home.

“I enjoy getting the patients better and more independent and just seeing that change from not being able to do anything or not much to being able to do something. I also enjoy seeing other therapists mature in their roles and getting better and more comfortable in their roles, so I enjoy training therapists too. I am really big on the servant leadership mentality. I want to be in the trenches with you and serving and doing whatever we need to help make our patients more independent.”

“I feel like with St. Joseph’s/Candler being a faith-based hospital, everyone here is in it for the right reason. You are in it for the patient. ‘Rooted in God’s love, we treat illness and promote wellness for all people’ – that’s our mission. We believe in our mission, our values. There’s a lot of longevity here too. I have been here 25 years, but there are nurses that have been here 40 plus years, housekeepers here 45 years. There’s a reason why people stay here. You love the people you work with. You love what you do to make the patients better. It’s a great feeling to know you are invested in people and making them better with what you do as your occupation, your job. I love what I do here.”

Meet Afshan Nasrullah, practice administrator for our Center for Medication Management. Afshan has worked for SJ/C for 38 years, starting in inpatient pharmacy, but has been with the Center for Medication Management since it opened about 18 years ago. She helps patients with their needs or any issues that may come up. She works with doctors to make sure patient needs are met. She also manages the staff, orders supplies and performs any other tasks to make sure the Center runs smoothly every day. The Center for Medication Management started out as an anticoagulation clinic, which is still its largest service line, but now also includes management of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking cessation.

“I have a personal connection with the clinic because my husband was on anticoagulation, and unfortunately, he passed away because of an overdose of blood thinner. At that time I wanted to do something to help others, so when our previous manager decided to open the clinic, I wanted to help. I have always wanted to do something to help patients, and I have been able to and it’s because the Lord has given me the opportunity to help patients. This clinic is very close to my heart.”

“I love the people here, and I love our patients. The most important thing is to make our patients happy, whatever problems they may have. I also make sure the staff’s needs are met. I make sure everything is taken care of. I try to take care of any burden my staff may feel and help them. The thing which really makes me happy is taking care of our patients. I love it. I love this place. I thank the Lord that he gave me the opportunity to be in this position at this place.”

Meet Liza Francis, office coordinator for the Good Samaritan Clinic, one of two free health clinics St. Joseph’s/Candler operates. Liza has worked at the Good Samaritan Clinic for nine years, being the first office (non-clinical) co-worker hired. Good Samaritan started out as a night clinic, then went to two days a week and is now a full-time open office. Liza is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the office including checking in patients, making sure they meet the qualifications to be seen at the Good Samaritan Clinic, helping schedule lab work and scheduling volunteers. She does a lot of communication with the patients, not only because she speaks fluent Spanish (as many of our Good Samaritan patients are Spanish-speaking) but because of her longevity and desire to help address any patient needs.

“What I love about my job is the people. Even on stressful and what feels like non-stop days, there’s a satisfaction in being able to help somebody. People are so grateful when you simply just take the time to ask them, ‘How are you?’ They may be having a really bad day or not know what to do or who to go to for help, but you took the time to reach out to them. There’s satisfaction in helping somebody.”

“What’s great about the Good Samaritan Clinic is it doesn’t feel like any other free clinic through a hospital. I believe the health system is engaged in its mission and that shows through the work we do here. The mission and values go hand in hand with the clinic. It’s very helpful to have the support of the hospital, the support of Sr. Pat (Baber, director) trying to help us help our patients.”


Meet Donna Stephens, credentialing coordinator for our Managed Care department. Donna has worked at St. Joseph’s/Candler for 18 years. As credentialing coordinator, she helps on-board the physicians by making sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed before their start date. She makes sure all the proper paperwork is signed and verifies many different pieces and parts of the hiring process such as previous employment and claims history. Donna is also on the advisory board for the Angels of Mercy, which is SJ/C’s volunteer corps that serves the community through active volunteerism.

“I really like helping people, whether that’s an incoming physician, a fellow co-worker or someone in the community. We have a really good team here. Even though it can get stressful, we all work well together and like working together. We just have that St. Joseph’s/Candler attitude that you step up when you need to help others. It’s a very positive, nurturing environment here.”

“I was brought up with two parents who helped in the community so once I moved to Savannah it was nice to be able to give back. When I moved here years ago, I chose St. Joseph’s/Candler because I knew it was faith-based and gave back to the community. The Angels of Mercy, we like to get in there and help wherever we can, even if it means getting dirty. And we have the best volunteers. I really enjoy it. I am absolutely proud to be a St. Joseph’s/Candler co-worker.”

Meet Mya Walker, one of our guest service agents at the St. Joseph’s/Candler Pooler Campus. Mya and her fellow GSAs are the first face you will see when you walk into the beautiful facility. They help guide patients to the right office, and there are many different services offered at our Pooler Campus, which Mya knows like the back of her hand to help anyone who walks through those front doors.

“Our job is to minimize any confusion and make sure the patients know where they are going. We try to make them feel comfortable and have a very smooth visit. Sometimes they just drove 20 miles or more to get here and don’t know where to go or might not even be in the right building. It’s our job to either help them get to the correct building or correct suite. I enjoy being here to help them. I enjoy being that helper throughout their time on our campus.”

“It’s all about teamwork here. We’re small, but we still work together and get things done and accomplished at this facility. That’s what I really like about the Pooler Campus – we are really a team here. My manager is Team Us, and everybody else is Team Us in this facility. Even though we are different departments, we all work together so our patients will have a safe and good visit while they are here.”

Meet Latricia Reisert, who is the non-invasive cardiology team leader and structural heart coordinator for the TAVR program. TAVR is a less-invasive procedure to replace an aortic valve that is stenotic, or not opening and closing properly. Latricia, who has worked for St. Joseph’s/Candler for more than 19 years starting out doing ultrasounds of the heart, works with TAVR candidates and patients from the first referral through at least a year past their procedure. Last year, we did 87 TAVR procedures, and we expect to reach the 500th procedure at some point this year. Latricia makes sure all appropriate tests and images are complete and works with a multidisciplinary team to make sure each patient is an appropriate candidate for TAVR. Then she’ll meet with them one week, one month and one year after their procedure.

“It’s rewarding because a lot of times we have patients that come in and they don’t realize how long they’ve self-compromised. They just think they are old or tired, but when they get that new valve, they are like, ‘Wow, I can pick up my grandchild. I can work in my garden. I can breathe better.’ We witness them get their lives back. That is rewarding to see how quickly they respond to the new valve, and I get to watch that entire process.”

“I also like being a part of an important team. We all work together to see that reward in the end. Everyone from the cardiac sonographer to the doctors. There’s trust there. It feels like family here. We all share the same feeling of the importance of our patients, but we also work together as co-workers if someone’s child is sick, or even if their dog is sick, we’ve got each other’s backs. That feeling of family extends outside of just caring for the patient, we care for each other too. The other thing I would say I enjoy about working at St. Joseph’s/Candler is that we are faith-based. It’s nice to provide my own life experiences and my own faith if they are feeling uneasy or not comfortable about the procedure or just being here. We can pray with them and that’s awesome. God gave me a talent, and I can use that talent to help others live longer and be healthier and enjoy life. I’m not perfect, but I do feel rewarded and blessed.”

Meet Charles Stewart, a sterile processing technician at Candler Hospital. Charles has worked at Candler during two stints for a total of 14 years. He was trained as a surgical tech in the military and then upon retirement, transitioned into a sterile processing tech at Candler Hospital. Our sterile processing technicians are responsible for all the equipment used in both elective and emergency surgeries. Wearing personal protective equipment, they sanitize and wash all the instruments, inspect them, organize them in each operating room and then sterilize them within guidelines and cool them before each and every surgery. Then the process starts all over again after each and every surgery. And at Candler, we average about 250 surgeries a week!

“I’ve always wanted to give back and after my military service I wasn’t sure what to do. I tried a couple of different things but I ended up coming back to healthcare. I look at it as a career, not just a job. I just love doing what I do. I think it’s the hands-on approach. I’ve always been good with my hands. We don’t work directly with patients, but it’s also about having that indirect patient care. That’s what’s also great about working at Candler. We’re all a team. I enjoy the people that I work with. No one tends to leave until retirement. I just enjoy the people and our current manager, Ms. Jackie Lee. She is great to be around and that helps with everyone’s morale. I’m looking forward to my next seven years here.”

Meet Shandrena Famble, team lead for the customer experience specialists for St. Joseph’s/Candler laboratory services. Shandrena has worked here 31 years mostly in the lab but also in a couple of our primary care offices. She is responsible for the customer experience specialists, or lab assistants, that work out of our primary care offices, outpatient draw stations and client service department. She makes sure schedules are up to date and someone is staffed at all locations. She also has daily reports to check and double check to ensure doctors are receiving lab results so they can take care of their patients.

“I think about our six brush strokes, and I can relate to each one. (Compassion, quality, integrity, courtesy, accountability and teamwork) When we’re doing interviews, and we ask people to choose one they relate to, the person that really gets my attention is the one that says, ‘I relate to all’ because I do as well. You need all of them in order to be successful. I love the longevity I’ve had with St. Joseph’s/Candler. I’m very proud to say, ‘In May, I’ll be here 32 years.’ I just want to keep on keeping on until retirement. I really do enjoy it. Even on the stressful days, it’s still fulfilling because at the end of the day I know I’m taking care of our patients; my team is taking care of our patients.”

“I enjoy working with the coworkers. I seem to have a pretty good relationship with most of them. I have the gift of gab, I guess you could say. I enjoy working with them and seeing them grow. That’s the biggest thing for me. I love to see someone come in new, start off at the bottom – which I hate using that term – and to grow as I did. I started out as a lab assistant and made it up to management. To me, it’s just heartwarming and fulfilling to see that in someone else.”

Meet Sherry Andrews, business operations coordinator for environmental services and laundry for the health system. Sherry has worked here 22 years, and is responsible for ordering all the supplies and equipment required of the environmental services and laundry teams. She orders between $20,000 to $30,000 worth of supplies just in a week’s time to ensure these two departments can do their very important jobs. Sherry’s role also involves lots of paperwork and making sure the director and assistant directors have what they need to do their jobs.

“I love St. Joseph’s/Candler. I love what they do, what they have done for me. I am a God-fearing woman, and what better place to work than at a place that is “Rooted in God’s love.” I see, I don’t only hear, but I see what they do out in the community. There’s a lot of companies who do not keep their employees informed. St. Joseph’s/Candler communicates, and I love that. Every Friday, we have a message from our President & CEO letting us know what’s going on. You can’t do better than that.”

“I enjoy the people here. We all work well together. They depend on me for a lot of things, and I try to help them as best as I can. It’s really all about working with the people.”

Meet Lorie Gonzalez, an advanced patient care technician in Pooler outpatient surgery and St. Joseph’s Hospital outpatient surgery. Lorie has worked here for four years and has 36 years experience as a APCT. She is one of the first faces patients see on the day of their surgery. She makes sure they get checked in, asks them some questions, checks vitals and helps prepare them for surgery. Lorie also makes sure charts and rooms are ready for the next day and helps keep supplies and equipment stocked. She can assist in the operating room if needed and assists with discharging the patient once they are ready to go home.

“I got into healthcare to help people, not treat them like a number and move from patient to patient. We all have the same values here that the patient is first. If they don’t have the care they need, how are they going to get better? You just need to talk to people. Some older people may not have anyone to talk to, so if they come here and want to talk, what’s five minutes? Nobody asked to be sick. I also ask myself how I’d want to be treated or my mother or grandmother treated. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.”

“I really love the people I work with. We’re like a family here. You have some stress that’s associated with any job, but it’s not overwhelming because everybody helps out. It makes it easier and patients are better taken care of because there’s no animosity between coworkers. The flow works well. Both places have a really good team, and I’ve enjoyed working at both of them.”

Meet Madearian Watkins, or you most likely know him as Dee. Dee has worked here for 23 years in the receiving department at Candler Hospital. Each day, between 500 and 700 packages are delivered to Candler Hospital. (It was even higher at the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic.) All our personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, come in through receiving, as well as supplies that different departments throughout the hospital order. Dee and the team unload supplies off the loading dock, process and track everything and make sure each package is delivered to the right area and accounted for.

“I love my job. Every day that I wake up and come here is a blessing. To come here and work with the same people for years and years makes it even better. Everybody gets along well. It’s like we’re family. Who doesn’t want to come see their family every day? I’m proud to work here. A lot has changed in the 23 years I’ve worked here. It just keeps getting better and better. They take good care of us here.”

Meet Kimberly Cook, registered vascular sonographer with SJ/C Physician Network – Vascular Specialists. Kimberly helped bring ultrasound into the practice with the help of the physicians more than two years ago. This makes it really convenient for the patients to have their ultrasound and be right there to see their doctor. Kimberly performs all the ultrasounds with a fellow sonographer for imaging before or following procedures, as well as monitoring chronic diseases.

“I really love the people I work with. I have a lot of respect for the surgeons that work here with their experience and bed-side manner. I really like that I was able to be challenged in new ways in this role. I was able to be a part of making decisions – how the room is set up, how the schedule is set, every detail, they really let me be involved. I also like that I am able to hone in and specialize my skills. Being able to focus and specialize just in vascular has been really good. I really love that.”

“I was born at Candler. I’m familiar with the reputation they have. My mom graduated nursing school and took a job at Candler, and she’s still there now, like 35 years later. My first job (at Candler Imaging Center), it was like, ‘Hey mom!’ and seeing her that was really cool. I’ve made my own way and worked at different places and that’s how you find what fits and this is what fits me. I love it here.”

Meet Anna Mills, clinic assistant at the Center for Oto-Neurology. She is responsible for handling referrals, scheduling patients, confirming insurance, reminding patients of their upcoming appointments and getting their charts ready. She also orders supplies and helps with any other necessary paperwork. Anna works with patients of both the audiologists and outpatient speech therapist in our Oto-Neurology department. She’s worked here for five years.

“I love working in this department because it’s not a big department. It’s like a family. We all get along, and we all try to make sure everybody is happy and having a good day. Everyone here is easy to work with and fun to work with. I just love working for this department.”

“Working with St. Joseph’s/Candler at my previous job and then now, it’s just a great organization. They love their people. It’s a family-oriented job and that’s what I’m used to and that’s what I love about it. Everybody is personable. Everybody is family and helpful in any way they can be. You don’t have a negative day, at least I don’t. I don’t consider this a job because I love coming to work.”

Meet Elliot Brookins, production supervisor in the dietary department at Candler Hospital. Elliot has worked here for 20 years. All the meals you see in the hospital – whether in the cafeteria, at our SmartBytes location, in patient rooms or in the doctor’s lounge – Elliot is responsible for making sure everything is prepared and goes out correctly. We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner so that’s a lot of meals that Elliot and the dietary team prepare.

“I love this job really because of the people. It’s all about the people I work with in dietary but also here at Candler. Everybody is so pleasant. I really enjoy myself when I’m at work. It’s not all about the money; it’s the people. I also appreciate the whole value system of St. Joseph’s/Candler, especially being a faith-based organization. They really live out their mission with how they work with the community and how they work with their employees here. It’s just a great place to work with great people.”

Meet Emma Wilson, team leader in coding in the Health Information Management (HIM) department. Emma has worked here for 40 years – all at Candler in the HIM department. As team leader, she is responsible for assigning work to her fellow coders and assists with inpatient accounts. Hospital coding is an alpha and numeric code that represents individual conditions/illnesses or procedures. Emma also manages any contract coders we may need.

“I really enjoy the coding part of my job. I’ve done it for so long now, but there’s still always something to learn because things can change. I also like the people I work with. We have a really good group of folks in our office, and we work well together as a team. All the people here are so nice. When I was in college at Armstrong Atlantic State University in their health information management program, we had a chance to do training at all the area hospitals. I knew back then I wanted to work at Candler. I have always loved Candler, and it’s really because of the people.”

Meet Ashley DeWitt, diagnostic medical sonographer, who has worked in the imaging departments at St. Joseph’s Hospital and now Pooler for nearly 15 years. Ashely operates the ultrasound machine, taking images of all parts of the body – from the arteries in your neck to the veins and arteries in your legs. She works with patients of all ages and no two days are the same.

“I enjoy the interaction with patients. The age range is so different so it’s a different interaction literally about every 20 minutes, which it’s so fun to have that personal connection with your patient. I also like making patients feel comfortable. I guess it’s the Southern way. You want someone to feel welcome here, just like you would at your own home. Some ultrasound exams can be stressful and some can be awkward. I take it as a compliment when they say, ‘I was dreading this but you made it not so awkward.’ It’s nice to have someone leave happy when they come in nervous.”

“I actually grew up in Pooler so it’s amazing to me that there’s a medical facility here now and that all of the people on this side of town have a convenient place to come for so many different services. It’s been fun to see folks from the community and now we’re taking care of them. I also like how St. Joseph’s/Candler makes you feel as an employee. You feel like you are a part of a family. I’ve always compared it to how it feels like in a small town, where you know everyone and everyone knows you and you all look out for each other, and we all help each other out. That’s one of the many reasons I’ve enjoyed being here for 15 years. It’s a great team here.”

Meet Angela Grant, manager of the SJ/C SOURCE Program within the Georgia Infirmary. Angela has worked at the Georgia Infirmary for 27 years. SOURCE helps provide services and resources to the qualified elderly and disabled so they can stay at home within their community. As the manager of the Savannah SOURCE office, Angela oversees and assists case managers that help people in nine counties. (SOURCE covers a total of 27 counties in Coastal Georgia with assistance from our Baxley office.) They work as a team to do whatever they can to provide the best service for SOURCE members.

“I love working here. I love the Georgia Infirmary. When I came in the door 27 years ago, I immediately felt the family atmosphere. I told my mom on my lunch break, ‘I think I’m going to retire from here.’ I still feel that way to this day. It’s a nice family environment. Everybody cares for our members, and we’re out there trying to do what we can do to just help and be that support for the members in our community, especially the elderly, disabled and challenged members.”

“I am all about community. I am all about giving back. St. Joseph’s/Candler and I align up perfectly because we have the same goals and values – accountability, making sure that we do what we say we are going to do. If you are providing a service, then you make sure you provide that service to the best of your abilities. I like that we are a family and a faith-based system. The two go hand-in-hand.”

Meet Jason Boyd, health educator and exercise physiologist with the Disease Management Program. Jason has worked for SJ/C for 24 years. He currently trains people through our weight management program and members of the Wellness Center. He also does lectures for the Wellness Center and other groups. In his health educator role, Jason helps with screenings and risk management. We screen people who work for local businesses, including our local fire fighters and police officers. These screenings can help identify high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol or blood sugar, and then Jason can help navigate them to the proper program or physician to manage these conditions.

“It’s one of the things that I really like about my job is that I get to do so many different things, and I work with so many different people and groups from seniors to the young, new recruit fire fighters that are just 19 years old and from people trying to lose weight to people trying to prevent heart attacks or improve their diabetes. I get to do so many different things and that’s one of the cool things that I like about my job. It’s important to me to teach people how to modify their diet or how to start an exercise program or manage their stress or teach them more about high cholesterol or blood pressure or diabetes. Being able to educate is my favorite thing because I’m an educator at heart. I get to basically do what I was born to do.”

“I like the fact that St. Joseph’s/Candler puts an emphasis on prevention and wellness. Part of our mission statement is, ‘We treat illness and promote wellness for all people.’ I like the fact that is in our mission statement, promote wellness. One of the things that’s always been important to me throughout my career is the prevention aspect that if we can keep people healthy and lower their risk factors for chronic disease then we can improve people’s lives. I also like that the health system offers a Wellness Center and all these different programs. A lot of health systems don’t. That’s one thing I really appreciate about our health system is the fact that we’ve put a strong emphasis on keeping our wellness program and keeping this place for our employees.”

Meet Monica Rodgers, clerical coordinator at the St. Joseph’s/Candler Primary Care Islands practice, where she has worked for the last 11 years. Monica helps check patients in and out of their appointments, collects copays, answers the phone and schedules patient appointments. She also trains new receptionists and goes above and beyond to provide patients with top quality customer service, whether it’s getting a lab order or getting paperwork signed.

“I am kind of a gopher – go here, go there, help with this. I just want to help wherever I can. I enjoy coming to work every day to help assist our patients, showing compassion and a listening heart with a smile. It’s a close community here because so many people live on the Islands, but we also have patients that come all the way from Augusta and Waycross. They come for three-month follow-ups, four-month follow-ups or come back in two weeks so you really establish a relationship with them.”

“We’re like a big family here. We all work together, especially if the patient has a problem. If it’s something clinical that I may not be able to help with, then I can get the information from them and then talk to the nurse or the doctor to find a solution for that patient. It’s all teamwork to help that one patient. It might take five of us, but we’re all going to work together as a team. It’s really a pleasure to come to work and be a part of the Islands practice.”

“I am thankful to work for St. Joseph’s/Candler because we share the same goals: showing compassion, community, kindness and teamwork working together toward helping our patients. I want our patients to leave our office happy after their appointment, knowing that their medical care is in the best hands.”

Meet Andy Williams, manager of respiratory therapy and pulmonary diagnostics at St. Joseph’s Hospital. The Savannah native has worked for St. Joseph’s/Candler for 40 years (starting at St. Joseph’s Hospital before the merger). He is responsible for the daily operations of the respiratory and pulmonary diagnostic departments, making sure both the staff and patients are happy. He will also pitch in and help care for patients, especially on nights if staffing is low.

“I love the family environment that I work in. I’m comfortable taking care of people here. As Dorothy says in the Wizard of Oz, ‘There’s no place like home.’ I like being able to take care of patients in the way that I’m allowed to take care of them here. There’s autonomy and trust here that we are allowed to do the job we are trained to do.”

“I’m also a pastor. One of my callings is dealing with people and helping people. I like being able to take care of people. The values of the health system are the values in my life, in addition to some other values. I run into a lot of people that know I’m a pastor. I’ve had patients that have asked me to pray for them, pray with them. If I worked at other places, I wouldn’t be able to do that. Because I work in a faith-based organization, I’m able to minister to folks in this capacity also.”

Meet Sr. Donna Coward, RSM, spirituality coordinator for the health system under our Mission Services department. She has served in this role for more than two years, but she’s been with the health system for 23 years. Sr. Donna helped start St. Mary’s Community Center with fellow Sister of Mercy, Sr. Pat Baber. She spent the majority of her time here as a chaplain in pastoral care before being called to her current position. She visits coworkers at both hospitals, as well as our off-site facilities. She is here for you when you need to pray or just someone to talk to. She emails us regular prayers and monthly letters and always has a smile on her face.

“We have wonderful, wonderful coworkers. When I get to work, I’m energized by the people I am around. I love our coworkers. I do see this as a service. Honestly, I feel like any of the positions in the healthcare system are a service, are a ministry. I feel that way about education too. It’s in a different way than say you are a carpenter or farmer, because what you are called to is not just the skills you have, it’s the teamwork part of it, it’s the compassion part of it. You have to feel this is a calling; that this is what God is asking you to do.”

“The blessing that I have is that I’m from a family of very mixed religions. We always had respect for each other’s faith tradition. When you are trained in pastoral care, it’s about you as a patient and your family. It’s not about me. It is a service. You’re not in it to see how many awards you can win. You’re in it because it’s a calling and you really do care – and that applies to every one of our coworkers.”

Meet Benae Thompson, radiologic technologist II in the main radiology department at Candler Hospital. Benae has worked for the health system for six years and is currently working weekends, performing X-ray exams for inpatients and emergency room patients. You may recognize her for the years she spent at the LCRP as the lung screening navigator. Benae is going back to school to become a nurse but wanted to stay on board at St. Joseph’s/Candler even as she goes to school.

“I just love people. I love to do my part in making sure they are OK, especially helping people who aren’t sure what’s going on or haven’t had an X-ray before or have misconceptions about X-rays. I love being able to help them and educate them that this shouldn’t hurt, and we follow all standard precautions and proper positioning techniques.”

“I also like how St. Joseph’s/Candler takes care of their employees and the community. They do a lot of things in the community to promote healthcare and wellness. I just like the way I’m treated here. Mossrale is a big thing for me; ethics are a big thing for me. You could work other places and feel a totally different vibe, like just the next person up or just another number. Here, as an employee and as a patient, because I’ve been a patient here before, I just like the way I’m treated.”

Meet Lois Washington, an environmental technician at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She mostly works on the fourth floor but is willing to help out wherever she is needed. Lois has worked here for three and a half years and makes sure patient rooms and areas are clean and as germ free as possible. Lois is a vital part of the healing process and our St. Joseph’s/Candler family.

“The thing I enjoy the most is meeting the different patients and being able to talk to them and hopefully bring peace and hope to them because being in a hospital is not always the most pleasant thing. One of the things they tell us in our daily huddles is to smile and show happiness to the patients. Sometimes they don’t know what’s going to happen or what’s going to transpire while they are here, so just being someone that comes into their room with a friendly smile helps a whole lot.”

“I also like working for a faith-based institute. I am a Christian. The greatest hope that we can have is that we can go to God and pray to him. Working here, I can share that with patients if they wish. It brings me peace because the time we are living in, a lot of people don’t want to discuss religion or faith, so it’s wonderful to work in an environment where you are free to share your faith while you are working.”

Meet Lisa Miller, a nurse practitioner at St. Mary’s Health Center, one of two free clinics St. Joseph’s/Candler provides for those in need of healthcare. Lisa has worked there for a year. She provides primary care treatment, such as annual exams and chronic disease management, to patients. She’ll also refer them to specialists when needed and follow up on their care to make sure next steps are taken.

“I personally am in health care because I believe that healthcare is a right and not a privilege. Anything I can do with my degree to help make it more equable here in Savannah so that people that don’t have access to insurance can still get high quality health care. Specifically, at St. Mary’s Health Center, the people are amazing. My coworkers are amazing. The people that have been working here for a long time – they know everything about the system and how it works. They were super, super welcoming, and we all work well as a team. I also really love the patients. The patients are great. I’ve met really great people through here. The community is awesome.”

Meet Lennard Young, who is a CNA and PCT on the night shift in the Candler Hospital Emergency Department. Lennard has worked here for 16 years – all in the ED and on night shift. He helps with patient care as far as taking vital signs and helping make sure they get meals. He’ll also assist with transport when a patient is moved to a room. Lennard helps keep the rooms clean when a patient leaves, and helps with ED staff with any other needs they may have.

“My motto is to treat people how you want to be treated, and it will go a long way. That’s why I put my patients first. We all do. We are all here to help patients get better. I love my job. I love my work, and I love the people. I feel my coworkers know they can depend on me. I know I’m on the quiet side, but I come to work and do my job. I also love working nights. I would never go back to days.”

Meet Ashley Smith, a catering associate at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Ashley has worked for the health system for seven years. She helps make sure patients get all their appropriate meals and supplements. She’ll work with dietitians to make sure each patients’ nutritional needs are met, and she goes above and beyond to help alleviate the healing process so our patients can get home to their loved ones.

“What I love the most about working here is meeting and speaking to the patients. I get to meet people from different cultures, people from different walks of life. Diversity is a big thing for me. I’ve always liked working in a diverse environment, and working in a hospital brings that out. I love people, and that’s mainly the reason I like working here. And I have a thing for working in hospitality, and I get to do both.”

Meet Erica Merritt, a clinical pharmacy specialist in the Candler Hospital emergency department. She’s worked for the health system for 15 years. As a pharmacist in the ED, Erica helps recommend doses for critical care patients and helps draw up medications. She advises nurses and doctors on any medication questions they may have, as well as offers consults to patients who have questions about their home medications or prescriptions.

“I love that no day is the same. I love being a part of the team in the emergency department. I really enjoy working with physicians, nurses, radiology, respiratory – everybody that is a part of this team. I love the hands-on aspect of my job; the direct patient care that goes into my job. I find that very rewarding and challenging. I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me to start the ER pharmacist position because we were early in the game as far as having pharmacists in the ED as part of a community health system, so I appreciate the forward-thinking nature of our health system. It’s really been the people that keep me here. I do love the team aspect. I feel we are like family. I can go anywhere in the hospital and run into somebody that I’ve known for years. It’s not too small but it’s not too big that I don’t know the people I work with regardless of the department they work in.”

Meet Vallenicia Spruell, a certified nurse aide on the sub-acute and rehab units at both St. Joseph’s Hospital and Candler Hospital.  Vallenicia is a new face to the Health System, working here now for four months. She is responsible for checking vital signs and blood sugar levels and meeting other patient care needs whether it’s assistance to the bathroom or just a listening ear.

“I was in the corporate world for many years but then I had to take care of mom and dad and that inspired me to get my CNA license and pursue this career. I love the fact that I get to work with patients to make them feel better and give them inspiration when I walk into the room with a smile on my face. I greet them and meet their needs to help them feel better. It’s the idea of seeing them one way and then coming out to be better. They are sick and feeling down when you first see them, but then you see them transform into a whole different person when they are better.”

“I’m a spiritual person and am involved in the church all the time. Now, I’m working at a place where I can share my spirituality with others. It’s great. You don’t get that experience at other places. That really lured me to work here. I can give a person love, let them know God loves them. Hearing the daily prayer over the overhead speaker every morning really inspires me when I come to work. It’s like I’m home.”

Meet Dorothy Perkins, or you may know her as Lee. Lee has worked for the Health System for 37 years. She is currently chief dispatcher for patient transport at Candler Hospital. She is responsible for making sure patients are moved from one area of the hospital to another and her team helps with patient arrival and departure.

“We are likely the first person patients see and the last person they see. I think our job, even though we are moving patients most of the time, it’s really about customer service; just making sure the person who you are transporting feels good and hope they enjoyed their stay and everything went well.”

“I’ve been in transport for 25 of the 37 years I’ve worked here. I started out in sterile processing and then went to material services, but I came back to transport. I enjoy it because when I worked in the OR, I stayed in one location. I didn’t even know the rest of the hospital existed. Now, there are so many places and so many coworkers I get to work with.”

Meet Mark Sanders, guest services representative in the communications department at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Mark answers calls from outside the hospital, as well as calls from patients staying at our facility. You may also hear his voice on the overhead system speaker. Mark has worked here for seven years.

“The phone rings nonstop, from the time I hit the door until the time I leave. I can honestly say you have to have a heart for people to do this job because we get calls about death, about life, a lot of different topics. It’s a very versatile position. A lot of times it almost feels like therapy because you have to really listen to people’s stories and hear what they have to say and then conclude where you have to get them to where they need to be.”

“I can say what I love about my job is being able to help people. Even though we are in the background, we play such a major role. You even get to develop a relationship from callers on the outside because they become familiar with your voice and your customer service. I’ve had situations where someone will ask to speak to Mark because I’ve spoken with them before. I love to establish that relationship with callers, whether they are calling from the inside or outside and whether it’s a patient, doctor or nurse, anyone.”

Meet Davida Young, team lead cook at the St. Joseph’s Hospital cafeteria. Davida prepares food for both cafeteria guests and patients. You’ll occasionally see her at a catering event helping out as well. Davida has worked for the Health System for 15 years.

“When I started working here, I said I was just going to be here a little while, but I love to cook. I love what I do. I love the people here. It was supposed to be just part time for two or three years, but look at me now. I’ve been here 15 years, going on 16, and I love what I do. I love my coworkers I work with. It’s a great place to work.”

Meet Margaret Wallace, a patient care technician at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She’s worked for the Health System for 34 years. As a PCT, Margaret helps with EKGs, blood draws, blood pressure monitoring and other patient care needs – both physically and emotionally.  

“I love my job. Some people look at PCT as just a PCT, but PCT is really a rewarding position because going into that patient’s room every day my goal is to bring a smile to that patient’s face. A lot of times they don’t see family; sometimes we are the only family that they see. We get a chance to cry with them, laugh with them. It takes a lot of compassion and love. You are dealing with all kinds of patients. But the goal is the same – to provide their needs, to be there for them, to support them and to show them love. It’s very rewarding. I love it. I’ve been doing this for years so you know I got to love it.”


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