Laura Moss was always the first person in school to run to help a classmate who fell off the monkey bars or scraped a knee during recess.
“I have just always liked helping people, although I joke it’s because I’m so nosy,” said Moss, a critical care nurse in the intensive care unit at Wellstar Spalding Regional Hospital in Griffin.
Terry Hosch, Moss’ manager, said the new graduate nurse has a passion for helping people that runs deep.
“Laura has a dynamic personality and never meets a stranger,” said Hosch, who nominated Moss for an Atlanta Journal-Constitution Excellence in Nursing Award. “She is always thinking about her patients and their families.”
Having always lived in nearby Jackson, Moss sees patients she’s known for years, if not all her life.
“I like giving back to the community where I grew up,” said the married mother of two girls, ages 8 and 3.
Moss has a couple of nurses in her family and knew early that would be her calling as well.
“My mom always wanted to be a nurse, but she didn’t have the means,” she said. “I got all my nurturing obviously from her.”
Moss spent five years as an LPN after attending Southern Crescent Technical College in Griffin. She obtained her RN license in 2019 after completing a bridge program through Albany State University.
Hosch said Moss lives the Wellstar mission of enhancing “the health and well-being of every person we serve.”
Moss was just settling into her new job in acute care when the pandemic hit.
“We were all scared of the unknown but would not let the fear be shown on our faces when we were face to face with the patients,” she said.
Moss, like so many other nurses, found one of the most disturbing parts of the crisis has been that patients were not allowed visitors.
“They had no family with them,” she said. “They had to fight alone.”
Moss helped the family of one COVID-19 patient fill that void by setting up nightly Facetime visits. The patient was intubated and could not talk, but her family could at least see and speak to her.
Moss even went so far as to decorate the patient’s room to make her seem more a part of the celebration of her son’s graduation from high school. The patient’s husband cried during the Facetime call that night.
“That moment in time made everything worth it,” Moss said.
Asked what advice she would give to aspiring nurses, Moss said she would tell them “it isn’t easy.
“We will see people at their absolute worse or maybe their best,” she said.
Moss says it’s important for nurses to remember what drew them to the profession.
“You are walking into a field knowing that caring for people in every aspect of their life is what you are there to do,” she said. “They don’t choose to be sick. It is your job to make them the best you can because you choose to.”
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Meet the other award winners:
Vicky Hogue, Wellstar Paulding Hospital. Winner of the Nurse Leadership Award, sponsored by Mercer
Rochanda Crawford, Grady Health System
Beth Dziczkowski, Northside Hospital Cherokee
Clayton Fowler, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital
Danielle Giaritelli, Emory Healthcare
Jody Leonard, Southern Regional Medical Center
Kathleen LePain, Piedmont Healthcare Athens
Tasneem Malik, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Laurie Pazda, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital
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