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Johnson County Community Hospital Nursing Story - Susan Whitener, RN - From the Bank to Bedside

When Susan completed her college degree and landed a job in Banking, she would NEVER have guessed that she would eventually find herself working as a nurse! Susan is living proof that life often throws “curve balls” our way, and today, she is a nurse working at the Johnson County Community Hospital (JCCH) in their Emergency Department.

Shortly after completing college and landing that job in banking, Susan married and life was calm and pretty much routine. However, Susan’s husband was diagnosed with a critical and likely terminal illness when she was seven months pregnant with their first child. Life changed drastically for them, with numerous trips to Johnson City Medical Center, and Emery University Hospital, undergoing multiple medical treatments. The Whiteners spent that entire year in and out of these hospitals, and during all of this uncertainty, Susan notes that it was the nurses who cared for both her husband, for her and their family who made such a life-changing difference for them. Having never been around hospitals or much involved with health-related things, this was “all new” territory for the Whiteners and their extended family. Susan recalls “watching the nurses who cared for them, and experiencing their impact on our lives – I really appreciated this and wanted to give something back!”

Time has passed; Susan’s husband has recovered, they had a second son, and still they talked about how helpful the nurses were who cared for them during this very difficult time. Eventually, Susan talked about going back to school to become a nurse, and her husband was very supportive of her decision. Her husband’s job had taken them to North Carolina, and Susan enrolled in nursing school there. Mid-way through, her husband was transferred back to Mountain City, Tennessee, and Susan transferred to East Tennessee State University. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing in December 2005, and has been working at JCCH ever since. Sure going to nursing school was tough for Susan and for her family, but Susan notes that it has been the right thing for them to do. She does draw on her people skills honed during her banking career, but notes that it’s the “inside the bedrails” experiences that she has shared with her husband and family as they dealt with a horrible illness and eventual recovery that has really been her strength and motivation to complete nursing school and to work as a nurse, attempting to “give back” in appreciation of those who gave so selflessly in their time of need.

Thank you Susan, for sharing your story and for giving back in appreciation for those who gave to you!