Hometown Hero: Candler Hospital Special Care Nursery

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 5:32 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - For 20 years, families have gone to the fourth floor of Candler Hospital to be cured, coddled and sent home complete.

“I knew this is what God called me to do. I feel we are able to make a difference in families lives so that they can be comfortable with their little babies,” said Lisa Loadholt, the resource coordinator at Candler’s Special Care Nursery.

Lisa Loadholt comforts the littlest of them in the place built specifically for that specific purpose, Candler’s Special Care Nursery, where babies born at the hospital prematurely or with an illness receive constant attention.

“Sometimes they have their little episodes that we have to be on alert. We have our monitors on them so if there are any problems, we can quickly come to their rescue and basically make sure they are stable.”

“This is my second times doing it. With my first baby, this was the same process, and it was pretty re-assuring that everybody here is able to take care of the baby and take care of all my babies. And it was a really good feeling,” said Jeanette Jones.

“We have days when we have really, really sick babies that require 3 or 4 people at their bedside, doctors there non-stop. And then it’s just so wonderful to watch them become healthy and thrive and grow and watch the parents learn how to care for their babies and eventually take them home,” said Kelly Williams, a staff nurse at Candler’s Special Care Nursery.

From healthy but early to facing serious health issues, thousands of babies have been cared for by a nursing staff with hundreds of years of neonatal experience.

Among those WTOC Hometown Heroes, Loadholt and Williams have been taking care of babies at Candler for a combined 75 years and have been at the Special Care Nursery since it opened 20 years ago this summer.

“Our day is definitely something where we don’t know what’s going to happen from one point to another. But we are always on alert, always a very close-knit facility.”

“That revolving door downstairs can change in a minute. We can have a census of two and got to a census of 12 in a matter of hours. It’s up and down. You never know and it’s exciting.”

But lowering excitement is an important role for the nurses who work closely with concerned parents.

“You have to treat them as a whole. The baby is your primary focus. But once they’re over the hump of being ill and being able to start feeding and having the parents interact in changing diapers, hold, learn how to feed and take care of their baby, it’s a group effort.

“We give the parents just as much care as the babies because we want them to become adjusted to their newborn so that they can feel comfortable when they go home, just making sure they have all the tools they need in order to the best they can be at parenthood. That’s what we try to do.”

“It’s so rewarding. It’s the only thing I would ever want to do. That’s why I’m still here after 36 years.”

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