Jimmie Ault’s job wasn’t glamorous, but she had a profound impact on her patients. Ault retired in 2016 after 34 years of service.
Ault, RN, former Wound Care Ostomy Nurse, helped patients at a very vulnerable time in their lives. She assisted patients with wounds and tube devices exiting their bodies.
“These patients think of themselves differently than they did before. They can be very self conscious,” she said. “Early on in my career I realized that my face is the first thing the patient sees. If I look turned off when I look at the wound or the ostomy, they will notice that and feel negatively about the situation. But if I stay calm and treat them with compassion, they will breathe a sigh of relief.”
Ault said she spent a lot of time evaluating and educating each patient.
“It was critical to understand how they lived their lives so I knew how movement would affect the ostomy. I had to figure out what was going to work for each patient,” she said. “I also tred to help them understand that they would go back to a very productive life. I tred to treat each patient the way I would want my family to be treated.”
“She really came from a place of understanding,” said Jennifer Dunscomb, former director of nursing practice, research and innovation. “She understood the patient and the condition from their eyes and crafted the treatment to meet that unique need.”
Ault, who worked at Columbus Regional Hospital since 1982, said stories of her grandfather’s experiences with an ostomy inspired her to become an ostomy nurse.
“I didn’t know him but I heard stories about how his ostomy negatively impacted his life. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of ostomy patients,” she said. “I have enjoyed every avenue I have taken. I had so many opportunities for growth and learning and making a difference.”
While much of her work was rewarding, Ault said there were challenges.
“It is very difficult when you work with a patient with a chronic condition and you know that if they don’t make lifestyle changes there won’t be a good outcome,” she said. “It was hard to stand by and watch them continue down the same path.”
Ault, who lives in Jackson County, said she feels very lucky to have worked at Columbus Regional Hospital.
“I wouldn’t have driven every day if I didn’t really appreciate what the hospital stands for,” she said. “It’s a philosophy of care. We put patients first every time.”