Jill Clark, RN, with Flaget Memorial Hospital, Lisa Smith, RN, with Saint Joseph Hospital, Todd Linley, a volunteer with Saint Joseph Hospital, and Norris "Chip" Hollon, PharmD, a pharmacist with Saint Joseph Hospital

Lisa Smith, RN, was working with patients as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at the hospital in Corbin when it hit her: “I thought right then and there, ‘this is what I should be doing.'”

Lincoln Memorial University began offering a CNA to RN program at the hospital, so Smith followed her heart down the path leading her to nursing. She moved to Lexington soon after finishing nursing school, but something felt off.

“I was a little bit disheartened when I came out of nursing school,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if it was me or the environment, but something wasn’t right.”

That changed the minute she came into Saint Joseph Hospital, she said. “It was a different world – the warmth, the compassion – everybody made me feel like I was already a part of it. That was a totally different feeling from what I had in my previous position.”

That was 24 years ago. Smith has worked on the floors, with cardiology patients and in the emergency room at Saint Joseph Hospital. Today, she is a medical/surgical float nurse, which gives her the opportunity to work in many different areas of the hospital and learn more about nursing care.

“I never thought that after 24 years in nursing I’d be able to continue to learn, but there is still so much to learn out there,” Smith said.

And Saint Joseph Hospital is where she wants to do just that. She has many friends who are part of the nursing team and have also been there a long time.

“Walking the halls, people know your name, you know their names,” she said. “The atmosphere is totally different than any other hospital. And it’s not a small hospital; we’re pretty big. To be able to have that still is pretty amazing.”

This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 edition of Spirit of Health magazine. Subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine to read more stories like this one.