When Fran Entrekin brought her son to the pediatrician 50 years ago, she had no idea it would be the start of a decadeslong career in pediatric nursing.
In 1968, Dr. Buddy Langston offered Entrekin a job at his practice with the late Dr. Harvey Newman. She started as a medical assistant, then became a nurse. She followed Langston and Newman when the Longstreet Clinic was formed in 1995, and during her 50-year career in nursing, all in pediatrics, she has seen four generations of patients. She is retiring from Longstreet Clinic at the end of this month.
Entrekin said she has always been drawn to children and wanted to care for them.
“Even growing up, I loved to take care of babies and be around them and play with them and fix their boo-boos and make them feel better,” she said.
Langston, who retired from Longstreet Clinic about 15 years ago, said he knew Entrekin would excel in nursing because of her caring nature.
“I knew her as a mother, and she was just the sweetest, kindest person,” he said. “When you talk to her, you know she’s listening to you, and that is wonderful thing. ... A parent trusting you with their most precious possession, their child, is a great accomplishment and it certainly deserves respect, attention and appreciation.”
Pam Patterson, Longstreet Clinic Pediatrics practice administrator, has known Entrekin for 40 years. Patterson was a file clerk at Northeast Georgia Pediatric Group during her senior year of high school, where she met Entrekin, who she said immediately made her feel welcome.
“I was young, and Fran made me feel like I had been there forever. She made you feel at home,” Patterson said. “She took care of you. She’s very good at taking care of new employees coming in.”
Patterson said that although Entrekin has worked with several pediatricians, she is a familiar face in the community.
“It doesn’t matter which provider she works with. (Patients) know Fran,” Patterson said.
Entrekin said she enjoys seeing her patients grow up and sometimes even bring their own children to see her.
“Patients start coming in with their children and it just seems sort of odd but rewarding, too, that they’re all coming back to the same pediatricians and the same doctors they remember getting their care from,” she said.
Mimi Collins, CEO of Longstreet Clinic, has known Entrekin for 27 years, and her own children were treated by Entrekin. Collins said her children, as well as her colleagues at the clinic and the community as a whole, admire Entrekin.
“She knows just about every child in this community and they all love her. ... She has meant a lot to this community and the clinic all the years she’s been here,” Collins said.
Entrekin was also the first nurse to work at Longstreet Clinic’s Wee Care office, which opened in 2004 and is a space where babies can receive wellness exams without being exposed to other patients who are sick.
Langston, the pediatrician who first hired Entrekin, said she “immediately raised the level of care” at his practice because she was attentive and proactive in following up with patients to make sure they had their questions answered. He said her expertise and empathy helped her better serve her patients.
“She is one of the most caring, compassionate people, and she transmitted that to the patients ... she was the kind of person who could give you advice from a mother’s standpoint,” Langston said.
Entrekin said she will miss her co-workers and the physicians at Longstreet Clinic, as well as the patients they treat.
“I have memories that I’ll cherish forever,” she said.
After retirement, Entrekin plans to travel and spend time with her family, which includes three children and eight grandchildren.