Details for K 14 - Nurses

Geri Smith
Chas Reilly | Times Correspondent

Helping others is in Geri Smith’s blood.
The Griffith woman has been involved in nursing
for about 40 years, and her attraction to the field
started at a young age.
While growing up in Chicago, Smith’s mother
was a nurse.
“I remember seeing her dressing up in her whites
and going to work,” Smith said of her mom.


Franciscan health

Smith said she enjoys teaching others, and she
gets to do that as a nurse. In her specialized field,
she also is able to help others when it’s greatly
“I like to put the patient back in patient-care,”
said Smith, who works for Franciscan Health.
Not only has Smith helped teach patients how to
take care of themselves, she also has trained and
educated many nurses throughout the Region,
said Michelle Rivera, a coworker of Smith’s.

Because of her strong connection to nursing,
Smith knew exactly what she wanted to bring to
school one day for a show-and-tell session.

“She is kind, sweet and helpful to all that she
meets, including patients, coworkers, family and
friends,” Rivera said, “She is my inspiration as a
wound care nurse.”

She chuckled as she explained how she brought
in a syringe with a needle that she wanted to
show her classmates.

In the wound, ostomy and continence field,
Smith will “look at all the things people don’t
want to look at,” but she isn’t bothered by that.

Smith’s teacher at the time was quick to take the
item away for safe keeping the moment Smith
was about to present it to the class.

She knows she’s around to “take care of whatever
they need,” she said of her patients.

The show-and-tell incident may have ended
differently than Smith expected, but it didn’t
diminish her attraction to nursing.
Smith received her bachelor’s degree in nursing
in 1982, but it wasn’t too long before she decided
she wanted to go back to school for more
specialized medical training.
Smith said it was a few years later when she
noticed there was a need for wound, ostomy and
continence nurses.
She said patients needed to learn how to take
care of themselves, but many weren’t receiving
the instruction they needed at that time.
Smith became an advanced practice wound,
ostomy and continence nurse more than 30 years
ago so she could provide greater assistance to her

Smith said many of the procedures her patients
need are painful, and it is her job to get her
minds off the pain.
She does so by entering her patients’
rooms with a smile, and using
humor to help put them at ease
when they are struggling.
“It just seems to help,”
Smith said.
Many have noticed
how dedicated Smith
is to her patients.
“She is genuinely
concerned for the
welfare of her
f a m i l i e s ,

Tony V.. Martin, The Times

providing compassionate, empathetic, selfless
care,” said Melissa Romeo, another coworker of
their family’s needs, such as receiving assistance
with obtaining supplies and care, additional
education and addressing areas of concern.”


You may be interested in