Laurie Faircloth, RN, is Georgia Neurosurgical Institute’s (GNI) longest serving employee, having been with the practice longer than even our most senior surgeons. Since her hiring in May 1979, Laurie has witnessed the growth and change of not only GNI and Navicent Health Medical Center, but also in medical diagnostics, training, and the standard of medical care itself.
Laurie was originally hired as a registered nurse for former GNI President, Hugh F. Smisson, Jr. At the time, GNI was located at the corner of Hemlock and First Streets. As the practice experienced steady growth and more help was needed, Georgia Neurosurgical’s current president, Dr. Joe Sam Robinson, Jr., joined the endeavor in 1981. In the words of Laurie, Dr. Robinson brought “a touch of Harvard to Macon, Georgia.” Dr. Kim Johnston was added to the group soon after, and both he and Dr. Robinson found themselves the sole providers of neurosurgical care at The Medical Center of Central Georgia, as it was called in those days. Laurie worked with the two doctors as they alternated each night saving patients.
Dr. Hugh F. Smisson, III, followed his father’s footsteps into the neurosurgical field and joined GNI in 1983. In 1994, Laurie also worked with Dr. Arthur Grigorian for six months while he served as a clinical fellow with GNI prior to the completion of his residency and vascular fellowship. He subsequently returned to become GNI’s Neurovascular specialist. Lastly, she welcomed GNI’s most recent addition, Dr. Richard Rowe, when he came onboard in 2009. Still, today Laurie awaits the opportunity to initiate new surgeons into the world of Middle Georgia neurosurgery.
Throughout her years as a registered nurse at GNI, Laurie has amassed numerous accomplishments, both professionally and privately. Laurie is a graduate of the last class of the Medical Center of Central Georgia’s School of Nursing. She created the Registered Nurse Extender position at Navicent Health, molding and shaping the job into what it is today. She has guided countless future doctors through their neurosurgical training and rotations at Navicent, and she was the first in Georgia to receive certification in Advanced Trauma Care for Registered Nurses. Laurie has learned and adapted to four decades of technological advancements including minimally invasive robotic surgery, endoscopic surgery, and the introduction of the first MRI machine in the Navicent Health Medical Center, just to name a few.
At Navicent, the staff of the neurosurgical floor has bestowed on Laurie the title of “Liaison” and “Gatekeeper” for the GNI doctors, patients, and Navicent medical departments. She prides herself most in her patient care by prioritizing patients’ needs through advocacy. Her goal is to ensure that all get the treatment they deserve in the most efficient and compassionate way possible. In her private life, Laurie has raised four children and has – in her words – “a dozen or so” grandchildren. She is a Master Body Builder and Power Lifter.
Laurie Faircloth is a credit to Georgia Neurosurgical. She sets the standard of devotion and passion for all of the previous, current, and future GNI staff. In the closing words of her speech given at Georgia Neurosurgical Institute’s 60th Anniversary Gala, Laurie described how she views her lifetime of professional achievement at GNI: “This practice has enjoyed a long voyage. Sometimes the seas were turbulent, sometimes smooth as glass. The ship has been well-manned. The sails are full, and I am truly blessed to have been along for the ride.”
From GNI’s perspective, we can only add how incredibly grateful we are that Laurie has been at the right-hand side of the wheel for so many wonderful years. Thank you, Laurie, for all that you have done to better healthcare for nearly four decades!