Kim Camp, RN, Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center

AJC Celebrating Nurses honoree: Kim Camp, RN, Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center

Kim Camp feels blessed to have found a career that still excites her after nearly 30 years.

“I love what I do – the good, the bad and the ugly,” said Camp, a patient education nurse at Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center in LaGrange. “I can’t say that enough.”

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A native of New Jersey who grew up in South Florida, Camp said she stumbled into a career in nursing pretty much by accident.

“I never knew anyone who was a nurse or in medicine,” she said.

But, while attending Palm Beach State, Florida’s first public community college, she took a class on medical terminology.

“I just really liked it,” Camp said. “Once I got into it, I absolutely loved it, and I knew it was my path.”

She became a nurse in the early 1990s and moved to Georgia in the late 1990s, working for the last 22 years at West Georgia Medical Center.

Camp has been involved in several nursing specialties, including medical surgery and ICU. She said the job as a patient educator plays to her lifelong love of education.

“If someone has a new diagnosis of diabetes, heart failure or something else, I’ll go and meet with them one-on-one,” she said. “I go to all the different floors, access their situation and figure out what they need.”

Camp teaches them what they’ll need to do for self-care at home, has them practice in front of her, and then sends them packing with her phone number in case questions should arise.

She’s never considered doing anything but hospital nursing.

“The sun would never shine if I had to work at a nursing home or doctor’s office,” said Camp, who has been married 21 years and has an 18-year-old daughter.

Co-worker Veronda Ross said Camp “goes above and beyond just educating our parents.”

“She is a nurse, a teacher, a patient advocate, a cheerleader,” Ross said. “She exemplifies what nurses should be all about.”

Camp started a clothing closet at the hospital that’s available to all patients and that is stocked with clean and neatly organized clothes from her own closet, as well as donated items, Ross said.

“I think that our hospital, as well as our patients, could not ask for a better patient educator than Kim,” she said.

Camp said the idea for the clothing closet came from someone else.

“I just put it together,” she said. “But we have patients who sometimes don’t have clothes, or they didn’t come in with clothes, or their clothes were cut off.”

Her husband made a rack and shelves. Someone else donates hangers.

“We pretty much have every size for whatever any patient needs,” Camp said. “Everybody gives a little bit.”