Health Victories

SHINE Awards spotlight Neonatal ICU in January

Written by Natalie Walters

Our Neonatal ICU is one of two level IV NICU’s available in our state.  We provide high level, critical care for 45 babies and have an accomplished Neonatal/ECMO transport team.  Our NICU pioneered the ECMO program for pediatrics in the southeast in the 1980s and continues to be an award winning ECMO program.

Taking care of NICU patients is not just a job; it’s a calling. We take care of the smallest patients in the entire hospital, sometimes weighing in at only 13 ounces!  We are privileged to be a witness to some of the most precious moments, including a mom holding her baby for the first time.  We also love celebrating each new milestone that is met and having graduations for our patients who are discharged after staying in our unit for more than 100 days.

Our staff is dedicated to providing exceptional care for each baby and their family.  We are always striving to accomplish new goals and better outcomes for our patients.  We truly enjoy seeing our former patients when they come back to visit us, sometimes year after year!  There is no better place to work than in the Neonatal ICU!

Meet our Staff

Kerrigan Grey

My name is Kerrigan Grey, and I’m a unit clerk for the NICU! I have only been in this position for almost five months now. I enjoy reading and taking care of my cat, Archie.

Katelyn Gibson

My name is Katelyn Gibson, and I have been a NICU Pharmacist here for almost seven-and-a-half years. I am married to my wonderful husband, Will, and we have one fur baby named Baxter. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, weekend getaways to the beach or mountains, and watching Georgia football (Go Dawgs!).

Paige Hammond 

My name is Paige Hammond. I work as an RN in the NICU. I’ve been there 25 years. I’m married and have two children. Thank you for this award. I’m honored.

Samantha Jordan 

My name is Samantha Jordan, and I am currently a night-shift PCN. I have been working in the neonatal ICU here since March 2021. When not at work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and traveling.

 Annette Williams 

My name is Annette Williams. I have been faithful and dedicated to NICU for 30.5 years with a half year as a new graduate nurse working on the Pediatric Med Surg. I am married with two daughters, three grandchildren, and one fur baby. When away from work, I like working in my yard for peace and relaxation.

Stephanie Holder 

I’m the Assistant Nurse Manager and have been in the NICU since 1997. I started as a staff nurse and then as a permanent charge nurse. I am married. We have one daughter, who is a freshman at Georgia Tech. We are die-hard Georgia Bulldogs so this has been an adjustment. The beach is my happy place.

Kaitlin King

My name is Kaitlin King, RN, MSN. I have been a NICU nurse for close to 10 years, but I am new to my role as the assistant nurse manager in the NICU. I have been in this role for about three months. I got married this year (May 2023), and my husband and I have a sweet fur baby named Tucker. Outside of work, I love to spend time with my family and friends. You can always find me curled up with a good book and a glass of red wine. I love my job, and I am thankful for it every day.

Matt Blume

My name is Matt Blume, and I’ve been a Respiratory Therapist on the Pediatric side for a little over six years. I’m married, and we have an almost 2-year-old little girl. We also have two pups who enjoy going on walks. Outside of work, I enjoy playing golf. I also enjoy watching and cheering on the Braves and Dawgs.

Ashley Bartley- NP

My name is Ashley Bartley, and I’m a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. I began at AU NICU as a new graduate nurse in 2002 and transitioned over to the NNP role in 2005 after completing graduate school at Vanderbilt. I accepted the Lead NNP role two years ago when it was created for our group. I’m married to John Bartley, who trained at MCG and is a Neonatologist at Piedmont Augusta. We have two sons, James and Harrison. We love to travel and love watching sports, particularly college football and golf.

Dr. Amy Thomspon

Dr. Amy Thompson is medical director of the NICU. She completed her general pediatrics residency and neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship training here at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia before joining as faculty in 2020. She is married and has three daughters.

Dr. Zanna Wynter

PGY 6, Chief Fellow, Neonatology. I have been a fellow in the NICU since July 1, 2021. I am married and have three sons, with a fourth son on the way. I enjoy traveling and going dancing.

Desha McNeair

My name is Desha McNeair, and I am a Registered Dietitian, certified specialist in pediatric critical care nutrition, and certified nutrition support clinician. I am also the Pediatric Clinical Nutrition Manager at CHOG. I have 11 years of experience as a NICU dietitian and have been here at CHOG for the last year and a half. In my spare time, I like baking and reading and am learning to crochet.

Eunice Mwonya

My name is Eunice Mwonya, and I have been a PCT in the NICU for 10 months. When I’m not at work, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and playing with my two dogs. It has been such an amazing experience working in the NICU so far, and I’m so thankful for this recognition.

Vivan Watts

My name is Vivian Watts and I have been in the NICU for 16 years. My position is Equipment Tech.  I love reading. I have been married for six years and have one daughter and two granddaughters.

Patty Parker

Patty Parker RNC-NIC, C-NPT. Neonatal Transport/ECMO. I have been in the transport/ECMO position for 20 years. The neonatal field has always been my passion — not just a job — as I have worked in the NICU for 42 years total! I have four grown children and five grandchildren. I love reading and spending time with my grandchildren.

Tommie Richmond

I am Tommie Richmond and have been the Clinical Outcome Manager at the NICU for seven years. I previously worked five years as a NICU nurse and 15 years as a Pediatric Respiratory Therapist. I have one daughter who is soon to leave the nest. I enjoy gardening, cooking, walking my dogs (Jack and Tybee), and spending time with friends and family.

Linda Wise

I am the Neonatal Transport and Neonatal ECMO Coordinator here at CHOG. I have worked in the NICU since July 1, 1987 (which is 36.5 years in the same unit). I also have 2+ more years at this institution as a student nurse and then my first two years as a new nurse before moving away. Since returning to Augusta, I have always been in the NICU.  

I joined the transport and ECMO team around 1990 and have loved it ever since. I gradually moved into the coordinator position over the next several years. I love the fact that we (our team) have the honor and privilege of taking care of the sickest of the sick babies, as well as the tiniest, most premature infants and their families. I am so proud to be a nurse at Wellstar MCG.  

I am married and have a wonderful husband, Walter. As a blended family, we have eight grown children: seven boys and one girl. We also have seven grandchildren. When not working, my favorite things to do always involve water. I love the beach, the lake and the pool. We have a small place at the lake where we enjoy fishing and boating. I have recently taken up crocheting. At times, crocheting seems to be more challenging than taking care of sick babies. We love our Georgia Bulldogs football!

Kristina Blackburn

I have been the NICU Care Coordinator for eight years. I started my nursing career in the ED and moved to Care Coordination when we relocated here from the Atlanta area. I have been married to my husband, Doug, for 24 years, and we have two children, Helena and Holden. I enjoy traveling with my family, live music, paddleboarding, rock climbing, hiking, biking and pretty much any outdoor sport.

Dawanna Mitchell

My name is Dawanna Mitchell, and I’m a NICU Social Worker. I’ve been working within the NICU as a social worker for over a year. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, as well as reading and traveling.

Alice Schoultz

I’ve been an Infant Nutrition Tech for six years. I’m the mother of one daughter, Dalice, and I’m Mimi to two granddaughters. I love listening to music and watching LMN. I enjoy working in the NICU.

Benita Perez

My name is Benita Perez. I am one of two Infant Nutrition Technicians. I have been working for the hospital for almost 17 years. For the first 12 years, I worked in dietary and eventually moved up to the NICU. I enjoy my job and traveling.