Celebrating Nurses Nominee Profile: Marcia Hutchinson

WellStar Cobb Hospital’s Center for Joint Replacement Surgery

Most people take years to indentify a profession that truly suits them – if they ever find one at all. Marcia Hutchinson is not one of those people.

Hutchinson, RN, BSN, a staff nurse in the 4 South orthopedic unit at WellStar Cobb Hospital’s Center for Joint Replacement Surgery, knew she wanted to be a nurse at an early age.

“As long as I can remember, I’ve had an interest in taking care of people,” said Hutchinson, 43. “My grandmother always told me that I’d be a nurse. She would let me practice on her by wrapping bandages on her.

“I was always going to be a nurse. Unlike so many other people, I didn’t have to think about what I was going to do.”

Hutchinson was lucky enough to discover that working in orthopedics was her calling. In fact, she has worked in the specialty for her entire 20-year career, and for 17 years at the Center for Joint Replacement Surgery, which specializes in hip and knee replacements.

“I like the fact that patients come in here, have surgery and get better,” she said.

Priscilla Combest, manager of the 4 South orthopedic unit, feels fortunate that Hutchinson works for her.

“Her commitment and dedication to caring for our unique population of patients make her the pride and joy of our joint program,” she wrote in her nomination. “Our patients require intense pain management and the work is physically demanding. Her patients often describe her as being very personable, professional and knowledgeable.”

Combest counts on Hutchinson as a go-to member of her team.

“She serves as a relief charge nurse, and she is the ultimate team player in that she tries to do whatever is necessary for the good of the patients and the team. She was instrumental in our unit achieving the Joint Commission certification for joint replacements,” she wrote.

Hutchinson’s role as mentor to new nurses is essential to the unit, Combest said.

“She continues to make a difference in people’s lives through leading by example while mentoring and coaching other new hires,” she wrote. “Thirteen long years ago, I myself was a new hire and she certainly made a difference in mine as my preceptor on the orthopedic unit.”

Hutchinson gets satisfaction from mentoring new nurses and seeing them grow.

“I try to tell new nurses what I’ve learned and why you do things,” she said. “By passing on that knowledge and seeing them excel and rise higher in the profession, you get a good feeling.

“I had a great mentor when I first graduated as a nurse. She taught me about nursing exactly like it was. It has made a real difference in my career. I just want to pass that on.”

Hutchinson also passed on her desire to help others to her daughter, Danyelle, 17. Hutchinson and Danyelle volunteer with Medshare a nonprofit that redistributes surplus medical supplies and equipment to those in need around the world.

“It’s great, just to know that my daughter is someone who wants to help others. She doesn’t want to be a nurse, but she’s interested in working in health care,” Hutchinson said. “My mother was a nurse, so I guess it’s just in the blood.”

That family tradition of helping patients and mentoring nurses who will treat people for years to come is a lasting one.

“I think my legacy is the positive impact that I’ve had on patients,” she said. “It’s satisfying to know that even the smallest thing I do for a patient can help them, and it makes them know that someone cares for them.”

Each month, we’ll bring you a mini-profile of one of the special nurses nominated for the sixth annual ajcjobs Nursing Excellence Awards.