Amy Macy, Wellstar Shared Services

A ‘good swift kick in the bottom’ set this director of clinical services on the right course

Even as a little girl, Amy Macy knew the qualities of a good nurse: kindness, compassion and empathy.

Her dream of caring for others was delayed, however, when she “kind of flunked out” of school. That’s when she became one of the few, the proud, a Marine.

“I just needed a good swift kick in the bottom,” she said.

The Marines delivered that motivation, requiring Macy to complete the Corps’ rigorous physical training even though she worked in administration.

She said she learned a valuable lesson during this time: “I can do anything I put my mind to.”

At 25, Macy left the military and pursued nursing at Kennesaw State University, graduating in 2005. She landed with Wellstar Healthcare System that same year and has been its director of clinical resources for seven years.

The 272 nurses she supervises fill in when staffing shortages occur at any Wellstar facility — whether in the emergency department, critical care, women’s services, respiratory therapy, rehabilitation or other specialty.

Macy’s first six years in nursing were at Wellstar’s Kennestone Medical Center, where she cared for patients who had just undergone open heart surgery. She advanced to become a charge nurse, assistant nurse manager and nurse manager in various departments, all while pursuing two master’s degrees — one in business administration and one in health care administration/management.

“I am no longer caring for patients at the bedside,” the 56-year-old said, “but I am caring for the people who are taking care of the people at the bedside. My whole philosophy is just making sure they are being taken care of so they can take care of our patients.”

That’s why Macy was presented with an AJC Nurse Leadership Award on Tuesday afternoon, after being nominated last fall. She was selected from nearly 100 nominations for this honor.

She must be doing a good job, because co-worker Lorien McFarlin said Macy’s team delivers “an exceptional patient experience for every patient that is serviced.”

Not only that, McFarlin added, Macy projects a positive image of nurses and is a strong advocate for research, evidence-based practices and quality outcomes.

“Amy continues to push the team to go above and beyond,” said McFarlin, who nominated the director for the award.

Macy’s push for excellence has netted her team the Silver Beacon Award and the APEX Award for Respiratory Therapy.

Macy also encourages her leadership team to give back to the community by volunteering with Wellstar Community Care at MedShare, GOODR Mobile Market, SAFEPATH Children Advocacy Center and MUST Ministries, McFarlin said.

“Amy’s passion is to help all needing support, no matter the issue,” she added.

Through an organization called Youth Villages, Macy mentors young women who have aged out of foster care.

She also co-chairs Wellstar’s Veteran’s Business Resource Group, which helps vets apply for health care and disability benefits. But her assistance doesn’t stop at the administrative side. Macy allows some veterans, especially those with PTSD, to spend time with her horse, which is her main passion (along with traveling).

“Horses are very majestic creatures that help people heal from the inside out,” she said.

In addition to being a mentor to her team, Macy helped create an international nursing program, an internal agency program and creative staffing models for Wellstar.

Read about the other winners