Amber Geiger

A Heart for Nursing

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February 2021 Issue
By Cynthia Robinson  Photography by Mike Force Photography

Registered nurse, Amber Geiger, said her desire to become a nurse was divine inspiration.

“When I was 14-years-old, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to be, and He wanted me to be a registered nurse,” said Amber, who currently works as a nurse on the Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick Campus orthopedic floor. “I thought it was a crazy idea. No one in my family was in medicine, but over time I knew He was right. I love helping people, and I love what I do. It was meant to be.”

After earning her high school diploma through homeschooling, Amber enrolled in the nursing program at the College of Coastal Georgia (CCGA). She credits God, along with two of her nursing preceptors with her successful completion of the program. “Erin, who I can’t remember her last name, and Laura Townsend, who works at the hospital, were so patient and kind. They really helped me make it through.”

During her clinical rounds while training, Amber knew for certain she had found her calling. “Once, I had a patient who was nervous about having a procedure. I sat and held her hand to comfort her. Just being able to do that made a difference.” Another patient she encountered was having breathing issues and although being addressed, Amber felt there was something else going on. Her hunch proved right, and a life-threatening problem was discovered and corrected. “I just thank God I was there to stop something bad from happening and felt like I was where I should be.”

After her CCGA graduation, Amber went to work for the Health System in 2012. She shared, “I started out on the telemetry (cardiac) floor, then worked in float pools (nurses “float” between working different units as needed) for a few years before moving to the ortho floor last year.”

Award

Amber’s hard work and dedication to her patients and their families was recognized in December 2020, when she was awarded the Health System’s DAISY Award® For Extraordinary Nurses. “I was shocked,” she laughed. “I’m someone who doesn’t like to be in the spotlight. I’d rather stay in the background. When I’m the center of attention, I turn beet red.” The international awards program, which was established by family members in memory of a young man (who succumbed to an auto-immune disease) is a way of thanking all nurses who helped them and to recognize nurses who make a significant impact in the lives of patients and their families.

Like previous winners of the award, Amber was nominated by one of her patients. In an excerpt from the nomination letter, her former patient wrote, “I have been very sick but having her as a nurse made my stay here more pleasant and endurable. She comes in with a cheerful disposition every time. She is warm, and I can’t emphasize enough how kind she has been to me. The world needs more nurses like Amber. Some things cannot be taught—either a person loves people and their job, or they don’t. Her kindness is not an act, it is genuine and from the heart. It is a beautiful thing to witness.”

Amber said she is very humbled to win the award and felt “it was sweet and a huge blessing. So many of the people I work with deserve so much of the credit.”

Nursing During the Time of Covid

Amber said while it’s always vital for medical staff to work together for best outcomes, it’s become even more critical in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The number one thing is teamwork. We know we have each other’s backs and work as a team coordinating communication between doctors and patients’ families, who are often worried because they can’t see their loved ones. It’s so important for us to be kind and patient.”

Farm Living Off the Clock
Although Amber loves her job, she also enjoys time off at home to decompress. After growing up in Brunswick and living there during the early years of her marriage, she, her husband and children moved to rural Hillard, Fla. “My husband was raised in Hilliard and his family lives there. It takes a village to raise kids, so we moved to the village,” she laughed. “I work two, 12-hour shifts a week. It’s about an hour-and-a-half drive, but also a nice time for me to de-stress.”

Amber and her family love spending time outdoors, so their rural setting is a perfect fit. “We have a tractor, ducks and chickens; it’s the epitome of country living,” she laughed, again. “We also have our cats, Tiger and Shiloh, and a dog named Dixie.”

Words of Wisdom
Amber’s advice to anyone considering a career in nursing is “your compassion for people is the most important thing to have. You’ll have good days and bad days but hold on to the good ones. You are only one person there to do the very best you can do. Remember it’s not only the patient you are caring for, you are also there for their family and loved ones. Providing communication between the doctors, patients and their families is a critical part of what we do. It’s also important to do that extra thing which blesses their day. It could be something as small as getting them an extra blanket, or a cup of coffee. And a smile always goes a long way. We all could use more smiles!”

 

Up Close:

Family & Friends:
Husband: Justin; son, Jace, 7, daughter Clara 6; Parents: Mike and Judy Haulman; sisters, Rachel Taylor and Jackie Strickland. “We also have a great network of friends at Anchor Church in Hilliard.”

Motto:
“It’s pretty much the Golden Rule. I always think of my patients and say, ‘how would I want my own family member to be treated?’ Everybody needs a little sunshine.”

Covid Scare:
Early in the pandemic, Amber and her family encountered someone who had tested positive for the virus. “It was so strange. The kids and I tested positive, but my husband was negative. Thank God, we didn’t get sick. I was worried, especially since Clara has some special circumstances, and Jace has asthma.”

Green Thumb:
“I love gardening and have hydroponic lettuce and broccoli. We all love being outside working in the yard and playing with the kids.”

Cat Antics:
“Tiger and Shiloh like to bring us surprises. Once they brought a still-alive mouse inside and let it go…now, that was fun!”

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