United States Army Veteran Finds Purpose in Connecting with Patients and Families at Shepherd Center
Maurice Jackson has worked at Shepherd Center for 20 years and loves the genuine connections he makes with people he works with every day.
What branch of the military did you serve in?
I served in the U.S. Army.
How long did you serve?
I served for four years as a medic, primarily stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As a medic, you’re the first line of healthcare for the soldiers.
What did you learn while serving in the military?
There were two main takeaways: camaraderie and exposure to different types of people. I was 18 when I joined straight out of high school, and it was my first time being exposed to the world. All I knew at the time was Miami, where I was born and raised. In the Army, I was able to meet people from everywhere from all kinds of backgrounds. It was life-altering. So many of us were around the same age, especially in basic training. We all shared this new phase of life and formed life-long friendships because of it.
How did your career at Shepherd Center begin?
My last day in the Army was August 19, 2001, and I started at Shepherd Center on August 20, 2001!
I started as a medical assistant in the Shepherd Spine and Pain Institute when it was still new. I’ve had many roles since starting 20 years ago. Now, I’m the administrative assistant for physicians in the medical staff department. Each day, I serve as the liaison between physicians and others inside and outside of Shepherd Center to ensure everything is running smoothly.
How do you and your colleagues help our patients and their families day-to-day?
At Shepherd, outside of the function that we do in our day-to-day jobs to help the hospital run, I think the biggest thing we provide is a welcoming, home-like environment for patients and families. Our patients have had something catastrophic happen to them. Shepherd is the perfect place for them to feel supported and nurtured so they can feel confident moving on to the next phase of their lives. Even though I’m not in a clinical role, it’s very common for patients to come in to speak to me and chat. We are all part of one big family!
What do you love about your job?
I definitely love the family atmosphere at the hospital, and of course, I also love the people. There’s a comfort level with the people you work with that connects us. I come in every day and can just be my true self. Anyone would love that.
Do you think your military experience has helped you with your role at Shepherd Center?
Yes. It provided the camaraderie, spirit of family and connection with people that has definitely translated into how I approach my role at Shepherd Center each day.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 743 inpatients, 277 day program patients and more than 7,161 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.