Mary Ann Smithhart, RN, BSN, currently serves as the director of nursing-geriatric services for St. Dominic’s Behavioral Health Services. She started her journey with St. Dominic’s in 1982, when the hospital was hiring 15 new graduates to help staff the upcoming critical care wing.
Smithhart credits her parents with encouraging her to pursue a career in nursing. “I had thoughts of pursuing music as a major. I enjoyed singing and playing piano,” she says. “Mom told me that I could be a singing nurse. I now have a great job where I can nurse and sing with our geriatric patients.” One of her favorite songs is: Goodness of God.
Smithhart recalls early memories of serving patients and families with Sr. Mary Paulis.
“She told me the stories of the first hospital and her role there. No air conditioning in the hospital in downtown Jackson with dust from the street airborne to open windows, and a staff that kept the place neat, clean, and spotless,” she says. “We were taught to be intentional, purposeful, but most of all we were called to care. The hospital is of great service to this community that I call home.”
Witnessing Medical Advances
In 40 years, Smithhart has seen many changes in the medical field. She had the opportunity to care for the first angioplasty patient post-procedure at St. Dominic’s and was excited to witness the quality of life improve for many patients as a result of this procedure.
Though much has changed over the years Smithhart finds that much has also remained the same.
“St. Dominic’s has always provided education, supplies and state-of-the-art equipment to provide care,” she says. “The mission and values of St. Dominic’s have been consistent over time. This is the piece that makes St. Dominic’s employees feel like family resulting in loyalty and commitment to the organization.”
Smithhart regards St. Dominic’s physicians, nurses, and ancillary staff as true heroes and is proud to serve among such talented people. When asked what is in store for her future, she says, “I love my work, and I will go wherever God leads me. Who knows what he has in store for me? He knows and I’m listening.”
During October, our health system celebrates team member anniversaries, recognizing those who have achieved milestone years of service within our organization. We will be featuring team members across our ministry all month long!