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Annual ceremony honors master nurses as healers among us
Event was first since founder Gus Whalen died
0924NURSESalan satterfield
Alan Satterfield

Mamie Coker

Position: health services coordinator for the Hall County School System

Years in profession: 21

Why she chose nursing: “When I got to high school, I had an interest in science, health and even wellness, before wellness was the coined phrase it is now. So I considered nursing.”

 

Robin Dudley

Position: retired nurse and current Brenau University trustee

Years in profession: 37

Why she chose nursing: “At a very early age, I realized that I liked taking care of people. I spent a lot of time putting Band-Aids on things…. As an oldest child, I become a good listener, a good communicator, and I loved taking care of people. So I decided to be a nurse.”

 

Shannon Garner

Position: manager of nursing clinical support services at Northeast Georgia Medical Center

Years in profession: 33

Why she chose nursing: “When I was very young, I wanted to be a vet. My mother always accused me of trying to bring home stray animals and stray people and trying to fix them. That progressed over time into a caring profession.”

 

Deborah Schulte Long

Position: UnitedHealthcare HouseCalls practitioner

Years in profession: 31

Why she chose nursing: “Why I got into nursing is really simple and short. I grew up in nursing. My whole family was in nursing. ... That’s all I’ve known, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

 

Kevin Meyer

Position: interim director of invasive cardiology at Northeast Georgia Medical Center

Years in profession: 12

Why he chose nursing: “I always had a feeling that I wanted to care for people. I flirted with the idea, growing up Catholic, of considering joining the priesthood at one point in time. ... There were so many opportunities and avenues in nursing, so many ways to reinvent yourself.”

 

Alan Satterfield

Position: Hall County Public Health nurse manager

Years in profession: 39

Why they chose nursing: “Nursing was not my first choice. I wanted to be a physical therapist. ... But I had an aunt in the early ’80s who had a stroke, and I watched the nurses who cared for her help her get better.”

Some of the area’s most caring professionals were recognized Wednesday for their service to the community.

The annual awards program “Masters in Nursing: healers among us” was held at the Brenau University East Campus and Featherbone Communiversity and honored six individuals for their work in nursing.

“These are days of great joy, to hear from practitioners in these professions,” said Nancy Krippel, Brenau provost and vice president for academic affairs. “How they’ve chosen, why they’ve chosen and what their profession means to them over their lifetime.”

The six professionals served as panelists, answering questions and sharing insight into their professions.

They were Mamie Coker, health services coordinator for the Hall County School District; Robin Dudley, retired nurse and current Brenau University trustee; Shannon Garner, manager of nursing clinical support services at Northeast Georgia Medical Center; Deborah Schulte Long, UnitedHealthcare HouseCalls practitioner; Kevin Meyer, interim director of invasive cardiology at Northeast Georgia Medical Center; and Alan Satterfield, Hall County Public Health nurse manager.

Meyer and Long said nurses are called to adapt. Meyer said “change is inevitable,” and nurses must embrace it.

“I’m a problem-seeker, a problem-solver and a problem-preventer,” Long said. “It is great — I love it — and it is about putting the patient first.”

Satterfield agreed.

“There is nothing more important than the patient sitting there in front of you,” he said.

Dudley had advice for the Brenau nursing students in attendance.

“Your education will continue for the rest of your life,” she said. “You will spend years after graduation finding the masters of everything you do. ... I do. I’m not too proud to ask for help.”

The masters series was founded by the late Gus Whalen, who created the series to honor North Georgia individuals for excellence and passion in a number of professions.

The program Wednesday honored Whalen, who died June 21, for his vision and support.

“He is so much here that we keep thinking he is going to walk in the door,” said Gale Starich, dean of the College of Health Sciences at Brenau. “We feel his spirit here, and that warmth and vision he had.”

Sandra Greniewicki, professor of nursing and health care leadership at Brenau, called Whalen the “eternal encourager” and a “gentleman of innovation.”

“Gus Whalen embodied grace,” said Deb Bailey, a registered nurse who has moderated the event since its inception. “What I know about the mystery of grace is that it meets you where you are, and it does not leave you where it found you. If you met Gus Whalen, you would know Gus Whalen met you where you are, but he never left you the person he found you.”


Mamie Coker

Position: health services coordinator for the Hall County School System

Years in profession: 21

Why she chose nursing: “When I got to high school, I had an interest in science, health and even wellness, before wellness was the coined phrase it is now. So I considered nursing.”


Robin Dudley

Position: retired nurse and current Brenau University trustee

Years in profession: 37

Why she chose nursing: “At a very early age, I realized that I liked taking care of people. I spent a lot of time putting Band-Aids on things…. As an oldest child, I become a good listener, a good communicator, and I loved taking care of people. So I decided to be a nurse.”


Shannon Garner

Position: manager of nursing clinical support services at Northeast Georgia Medical Center

Years in profession: 33

Why she chose nursing: “When I was very young, I wanted to be a vet. My mother always accused me of trying to bring home stray animals and stray people and trying to fix them. That progressed over time into a caring profession.”


Deborah Schulte Long

Position: UnitedHealthcare HouseCalls practitioner

Years in profession: 31

Why she chose nursing: “Why I got into nursing is really simple and short. I grew up in nursing. My whole family was in nursing. ... That’s all I’ve known, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”


Kevin Meyer

Position: interim director of invasive cardiology at Northeast Georgia Medical Center

Years in profession: 12

Why he chose nursing: “I always had a feeling that I wanted to care for people. I flirted with the idea, growing up Catholic, of considering joining the priesthood at one point in time. ... There were so many opportunities and avenues in nursing, so many ways to reinvent yourself.”


Alan Satterfield

Position: Hall County Public Health nurse manager

Years in profession: 39

Why they chose nursing: “Nursing was not my first choice. I wanted to be a physical therapist. ... But I had an aunt in the early ’80s who had a stroke, and I watched the nurses who cared for her help her get better.”

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