Following Family Footsteps

While every department within Southeast Georgia Health System plays a vital role in serving the community, the Camden Campus Intensive Care Unit (ICU) provides essential, life-saving services that proved vital during the pandemic. ICU health care providers work at the bedside of the seriously ill and often prioritize their patients above even their own health and safety.

One such caregiver is Stacie Conley, BSN, R.N. A Health System team member for just over six years, Conley spent her first year at the Health System learning the basics in the Maternity Care Center. But it wasn’t until she was helping in the ICU one day that Conley realized, “I had found my home.”

Since that fateful day in the ICU, Conley has dedicated her career to caring for critically ill patients. “Stacie is unstoppable when it comes to patient care,” says Norah Shusko, R.N., manager, Patient Care Services. “Stacie is a strong patient advocate and will go above and beyond to complete what needs to be done during and even after her shift. She is a dedicated role model and mentor to others.”

To Conley, however, wearing a variety hats is simply part of the job. “On our floor, we’re often unit coordinators and monitor technicians. We are part educators, part cheerleaders, part counselors, and a hand to hold. We are integral players of the team that is the Health System.”

Growing up in a military family, Conley lived in places as different as California, Guam and Virginia before finally settling in Camden County and graduating from Camden County High School. Although she’s finally grown roots, life is still lively in her household. Not only is she dedicated to caring for others at work, Conley and her fiancé, Arlo Yarborough, have raised three sons and are the proud grandparents of a one-year-old. She also has, “a rambunctious puppy named Harley.”

Conley spends her free time with family and friends, and although she doesn’t typically follow sports, she makes an exception for her favorite team: the Camden County High School Wildcats. “Our youngest boy plays football,” says Conley. “During the season, I try to attend as many games as possible,” an easier task since Conley transitioned to the ICU day shift last October. A self-proclaimed night owl, however, she still struggles first thing in the morning. “I’m sure it will come eventually,” she says. “Maybe with more coffee.”

Reflecting on family life, Conley is grateful for her support system. “My oldest son was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 15,” she says. “He’s now in remission and doing well. During the hardest years, my family, friends, tribe of coworkers, professors and prayer circles were all in it with us. I am forever thankful.”

Family is central to Conley’s personal and professional life. Her proudest accomplishment is following in the footsteps of her grandmother, mother, aunt and cousin: earning her nursing degree. “I worked hard balancing family and school to get to where I am now, and it all began with my grandmother’s legacy of caring for others,” Conley says. “You could say that nursing is in my blood.”