Providing world-class healthcare to every patient that comes through the door is their business, but for the nurses and caregivers at Wellstar Sylvan Grove Medical Center it’s also personal.

Their highest priority is to provide excellent service. Not because it’s in their job description. But because it’s in their DNA. They see work as their home and patients as their neighbors and family.

“I’m from Jackson. I am Jackson. I am Sylvan”, said Rebecca Jackson, a nurse on staff at Sylvan Grove, who joked that even her last name is Jackson. “To me, it’s a deeper meaning because this is my place, my town, my home. A lot of us have worked here for a long time. So, we know each other on a deeper level.”

That energy and depth of connection is palpable and felt throughout the facility, especially among the patients and their families. That’s what Stephanie Windham felt when she admitted her father, Bill, to Sylvan Grove earlier this year. He suffered a heart attack in January – it was his fifth.

At the time, he was being treated at a facility in Thomaston and undergoing rehab at home. Dissatisfied with the slow pace of his recovery, Stephanie decided to admit him for 21 days of rehabilitation at Sylvan Grove, a critical care hospital that specializes in providing long-term rehabilitative care for patients with chronic conditions.

“From the first moment at Sylvan Grove the nurses took time with him. He immediately felt comfortable there,” said Windham. She spent a lot of time at the hospital with her father where she witnessed firsthand the love and support he received. “The nurses were like family, and they treated every patient like a member of their own family.”

Sylvan Grove is a small rural hospital with limited resources, which Director of Clinical Operations, Erica Fishell says they leverage to their advantage. “We have to depend on each other to get things done. Everybody across all departments has to chip in. That’s why I wear scrubs to work. I have to be ready to help out wherever I’m needed. When you work that closely, you learn to trust each other. You become like a family.”

That team camaraderie is one of the things that impressed Stephanie the most. “I saw nurses stay two to three hours beyond their shift just to help other staff. They care about each other as much as they care about the patients.”

Unfortunately, the care provided to Stephanie’s father ended abruptly. Two weeks into his rehab treatment, Bill suffered a massive stroke requiring him to be transferred to hospice care.

Despite the sad loss of her father, Stephanie remains grateful for the care he received. As an active board member of the Wellstar Spalding Regional Hospital for the past decade, she values great healthcare and was inspired to make a generous donation to Wellstar Foundation in honor of the nurses at Sylvan Grove.

Wellstar Sylvan Grove is nationally ranked among the top hospitals in the country for its high-quality care and throughout the health system for team member excellence and job satisfaction. Still, it’s difficult for outsiders to pinpoint what makes this jewel of Wellstar so special. But Rebecca Jackson says what keeps them motivated is they always remember the patients have a choice.

“Our patients choose us. They could go home after surgery or they could go to another facility, but they choose us. I think that brings it to a higher level. We want to provide good service. We love our patients, especially the return ones. They choose to come back to us because of our service and our care, so that’s important to us.”

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