Celebrating Nurses: Leanora O'Brien

Leanora O’Brien, RN

Nurse Leanora O’Brien goes above-and-beyond for her patients at WellStar Kennestone Hospital, even if it means making house calls.

“Lenora is one of our most caring and compassionate nurses,” her manager, Tannaz Afshar, said.

O’Brien, a 15-year nursing veteran, displayed her dedication to her patients last November when she made multiple trips to a patient’s home.

The patient is elderly and lives alone, and O’Brien wanted to make sure that the woman’s home oxygen was working, that her feeding tube was operating properly and that she would be receiving the home health services she needed.

O’Brien considers what she did as nothing out of the ordinary.

“I try to make a connection with each person I take care of,” she said.

O’Brien said that, to her, nursing is “not a profession and not a job.

“It’s who you are. It’s your identity. The fiber of your being.”

A native of Memphis and a self-described “military brat,” O’Brian grew up using medical facilities at the Air Force bases where her parents were stationed.

At age 7, she took a bad spill down some stairs trying to take her brand-new bike out for its inaugural ride. A Navy corpsman, the equivalent of a medic, doctored the gash in her leg.

From that point on, she said she knew she wanted to go into nursing – a goal she achieved right after high school when she became a Navy corpsman herself, working, among other jobs, as a labor-delivery nurse, as an emergency medical technician and a bedside nurse.

She moved to Atlanta about four years ago when she remarried. She worked here first as a travel nurse and then, about a year ago, joined WellStar’s acute pulmonary unit.

She stays in touch via text with some of her patients after they’ve left the hospital. She and her children surprised another former patient recently, taking flowers and a cake to her at her nursing home on her birthday.

“Of course, I can’t do it for everybody,” O’Brien said.

She also insists she’s not unique.

“It’s not unusual at all for all nurses to go that extra mile for their patients,” O’Brien said.

She tells her family that she was put on earth by God to be a mom and a nurse.

“I am so lucky I get to do both,” O’Brien said.

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