ICU nurse Joseph Fongod came by his love of nursing naturally.
The grandfather who raised him in the Central African country of Cameroon was a nurse and his inspiration.
But it wasn’t until he moved to the United States in 2001 that Fongod was able to pursue his career goal.
He received his nursing degree from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro in 2008 and spent the next three years at St. Joseph/Candler Hospital in Savannah.
He joined Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale in 2013 and returned last August after several years at Rockdale Medical Center.
Fongod works in Southern Regional’s intensive care unit and believes the job plays to his strengths.
“I am drawn to ICU because it gives me the opportunity to execute the physician’s order and gives me the opportunity to think critically, analyze the situation and decide what direction to take,” he said.
Nadine Lynch, Southern Regional’s ICU director, said Fongod is a “huge asset” to the hospital with his can-do spirit, empathy for his patients and diligence on their behalf.
“He’s a great team player” and always going “above and beyond” for his patients, Lynch said.
Recently, Fongod admitted two patients – a 29-year-old female with abdominal and back pains who was requesting a heating pad and a 64-year-old female who was in the fetal position, moaning and self-diagnosing her condition as pleurisy.
In both cases, with persistence, Fongod got to the bottom of their pain: heart trouble.
He then pressed to ensure they received the help they needed and had good outcomes. The 29-year-old received two stents and had one vessel 100 percent occluded. The older patient was found to have a major blockage, put on an Intra-aortic Balloon Pump (IABP) and transferred to Emory Hospital within two hours for open heart surgery.
“Because of Joseph’s great nursing assessment skills, willingness to always advocate for his patients each and every time that he works, his patients continue to have great outcomes,” Lynch said. “Words cannot really describe how wonderful, talented and professional he is … ,” she said.
Fongod said he feels happy whenever he can make a difference for his patients.
I sincerely do love my job,” he said. “My patients are like family.”