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Fascinating people of Forsyth: Former nurse leading hospital to new heights
Jackson - photo by Micah Green

About this series

This article is the latest in an ongoing Sunday series spotlighting some of the fascinating people in Forsyth.

Previous articles

* Leading the charge for Sharon Springs

* County native enjoys serving the community

* Teaching far more than dance

* Fighting the stigma of addiction

* Learning to lead

* A homegrown lawmaker

* School social worker helping the homeless

CUMMING -- You may not see the woman behind Northside Hospital-Forsyth as a patient or realize who she is among the 2,400 hospital employees as she walks through the 265-bed campus, but she is always there. Overseeing, encouraging, teaching, approving, learning, signing, building.

Lynn Jackson has her hands in just about everything that goes on at the Forsyth location of the health care system and somehow finds time to pay attention to it all.

One minute she is the force behind new programs and state-of-the-art equipment. The next she is keeping the lights on. Quite literally, in fact. She pays the bills and makes sure everything and everyone is running on time and with efficiency.

Her feet are in all types of camps — what the mission of the hospital is today, what the plan is for next week, how the facility will improve by next year, what services will be provided in five years.

And one more foot staying a step ahead of what to do in the case of a catastrophic event — natural disaster, widespread virus, public safety issue.

That’s a lot to juggle. But that’s her job.

Question: Needless to say you’re always busy, right?

Answer: “When you run an operation that’s 24/7, even if you’re not really doing anything actively, you’re sort of thinking about it, worried about it, making sure we have everything we need here. You predict the next thing that’s going to happen.

“Very little is there any margin of error in our business. It requires us to do more planning. We go to the n-th degree in our planning and preparations to make sure we’re set for any emergency of any type. That requires us to do a lot of thing you never have to act on.

“Ebola was a great example. We were ready to go, even though we never saw a case of it. Some people may find that extremely frustrating in a job. I don’t have a high degree of tolerance for that because I know we’d be prepared.”

Q: What do you have in mind for the future of the hospital?

A: “People always do wonder about the hospital, how it is we can always be building something. With the growth of the community, you expect to have schools. They expect that, but they don’t necessarily think about a hospital.

“It’s not the center of everybody’s world like it is for us. We measure population trends to be ahead of the curve. We started out kind of small (41 beds), so we’ve really had to keep a pace going to keep up.

“We want to be a regional health care provider capable really of providing whatever our community and physicians need and expect from us. It helps us to be focused on what it is that our physicians need.

“What are our trends? Our health care dollar is so stretched today. There’s a lot of competition for the dollar. Competing priorities abound. But we’re trying hard to figure out how do we build that just right, the right service that meets that need.”

Q: On that note, just in case someone may have missed it, what’s all the construction for?

A: “We’re adding three additional floors. One is for heating and air conditioning, and the other two are in-patient units. One is for oncology. The other is post-surgical. It’s adding 64 more beds.”

Q: How long have you been with Northside and what got you into the system in the first place?

A: “Since October 1999, and I’ve really loved every minute of it. I’m a nurse by background … I just kept thinking about how once I got my master’s degree, I thought, you know, I really like the idea of having people making decisions about patients who know what they’re doing. I thought I’d take a shot at it, and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“I always felt a little limited as a nurse. I could make a difference in one patient, but not in many. And now I feel like I’m really making a difference in a lot of patients. That’s been extremely rewarding.

“And getting to work with a lot of different disciplines and staff. I’m in awe of what people do every day. I really am. When most people are home in bed, there’s the hospital staff still over here knocking it out, doing what they do every day. And being proud of it, and enjoying their skill.”

Q: What’s something surprising or fascinating about you?

A: “I’m an open book. Most people know everything about me. There’s not much that would surprise most people. Even if I said, well, it’s surprising that you have to have a dark sense of humor to do this line of work, most people would say, I know.

“Well, I like to laugh a lot. People would know that, too. I feel like I’m just one of those people trying to do my part to support those really doing the front-line work. If I didn’t come to work tomorrow, things would go on. If they didn’t come to work at 7 a.m., something would not happen.”