The consummate nun/nurse has 40 years worth of those types of moments — and the opposite — during her time at Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital in Sandy Springs.
“A good day for me would be realizing when I’m teaching a patient I know the time I spent with them has gotten them motivated and engaged. … They really want to change what they’re doing so that they can live a healthier life,” diabetes educator Fannon said. “There are some that you know right away could care less — you can tell. Then, there are some patients that you [recognize] just get it.”
What those in the statewide healthcare realm apparently get about the easygoing Fannon is her demonstrated commitment to the ins and outs of her job description.
Fannon, a patient educator at the hospital, last month was named a Georgia Hospital Association Giving Recognition for Excellence, Advocacy, and Teamwork ambassador.
That distinction celebrates and showcases the commitment and caring that hospital employees bring to their job, community and to the Georgia health care industry.
“I have worked in the hospital setting all these years for a number of reasons, but the most important one is that I absolutely love what I do,” Fannon said. “I love working with and serving the patients and family members that are entrusted to my care. It is a true joy and honor for me to serve in this way.”
The new ambassador, in a way, is a symbol of living history.
St. Joseph’s, Atlanta’s first hospital, was established downtown in 1880 by the Sisters of Mercy. Fannon is one of only four surviving members of the order.
Continuing the legacy of the Mercy Mission — providing compassionate, clinically excellent health care to those in need — is no more evident than in her daily role as a certified diabetes educator.
Then again, the same could be said of the other roles she’s taken on during her time at the hospital. Fannon has worked as a charge nurse in the pediatric unit, with burn patients and also in the areas of oncology and neuro/vascular plastic surgery.
“During my 40 years serving at Emory St. Joseph’s, I have been blessed to have many opportunities and experiences that have molded, challenged and made me the nurse I am today,” she said.
The extraordinary career narrative Fannon told parallels an equally remarkable personal biography.
One of eight children, Fannon attended Catholic schools in Atlanta and graduated from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in 1968. After the deaths of both parents, she honored her mother’s request to keep the family intact by raising her five younger brothers.
When that task was done, Fannon moved to Baltimore to pursue her religious calling with the Sisters of Mercy. Upon completing the novitiate program, she returned to Atlanta and found a home at the hospital.