Holly Gismonde, MPT, could not have picked a more challenging year to begin
working at Southeast Georgia Health System. A physical therapist at the
Outpatient Rehabilitation Care Center on the Camden Campus, she joined the team in December 2019, just three
months before the hospital saw its first COVID-19 patient.
Despite the obstacles of working on the front lines during a pandemic,
Gismonde hit the ground running, according to her manager Jeff Zawislak,
MPT. “I hired Holly because of the knowledge and professionalism
she displayed in her interview. Holly brings numerous years of experience,
a strong work ethic and a desire to help people. She develops a great
relationship with each patient and strives to get everything she can out
of them.” It didn’t take long for Zawislak to realize he had
made the right decision. “I’ve received excellent feedback
regarding Holly, from patients as well as other health care professionals.”
Gismonde was born and raised in Needham, Massachusetts, and attended college
in Connecticut. The New Englander chose sunny Los Angeles for graduate
school. After earning a degree in psychobiology (the study of mental functioning
and behavior as it relates to other biological processes), she pursued
a health care career.
“I’ve always loved exercise and working with people. Physical
therapy was the perfect blend of both,” Gismonde says.
She began her career at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. After several
years, Gismonde left California behind for an opportunity in New Jersey,
and eventually, settled in southeast Georgia. She quickly realized that
the Health System was where she wanted to continue her career.
“I chose to work here primarily because of the enthusiasm that the
rehabilitation supervisors demonstrated for their departments and teams,”
Gismonde says. “I was drawn to the positive environment. I saw friendly
staff in all departments, cleanliness, teamwork and a willingness to help
other staff and patients. I'm proud to be part of the Health System
team, providing excellent care to patients.”
Being a physical therapist keeps Gismonde on her toes, which suits her
active personality. In addition to her health care career, she has an
amateur cake business, Oh Sugah!, and is developing her home into a small
produce farm. A self-described morning person, Gismonde rises every morning
at 4:30 a.m. to exercise and feed her animals and work on home projects
before heading off to the hospital. Gismonde’s husband, Tim, also
works for the Health System as a medical technologist in Laboratory Services
on the Brunswick Campus.
Reflecting on her proudest accomplishments, Gismonde ranks raising her
son and having a career high on the list. As a physical therapist, she
works side by side with patients to treat their injuries or physical limitations.
Her goal is to help her patients reclaim a better, more functional way
of life. She encourages them to push past their comfort zone to achieve
goals, and she practices what she preaches. She and her husband moved
to Georgia after living in New Jersey for 25 years, started new jobs and
began developing their homestead. If it takes rising before dawn to exercise,
feed the farm animals and put the finishing touches on a cake for her
growing business, she’s willing and able to get the job done.
The philosopher Seneca said that luck is what happens when preparation
meets opportunity. Gismonde counts her blessings, but they resulted from
her preparation, hard work and ability to focus on goals. Her patients
benefit from her example as they overcome obstacles to reclaim a brighter future.