Mae Whitt and her daughters, Lynne McCarragher and Ann Bolt, have spent a combined 119 years helping people, tending to families and nursing patients at AnMed.
“It gets in your blood,” Whitt said as she gathered with her daughters in the second-floor lobby of AnMed’s new Maternity Center.
McCarragher, 64, has been a nurse at AnMed for 45 years.
“I enjoy helping people – making a difference,” she said.
Bolt, 61, began her nursing career at AnMed in 1988.
“I just see it as never getting old,” she said.
Whitt worked at the hospital for 39 years and then served as an instructor of nursing-assistant students at Tri-County Technical College before retiring at age 89. She’s now 91 “and a half” and no longer actively involved in providing care or instruction.
“I miss it so much every day,” Whitt said.
With her daughters and other family members keeping up the tradition, though, a legacy of compassion and skill carries on, transcending locations and systems to warmly impact care throughout the region.
Mae Whitt served as nursing supervisor in operating room
Whitt grew up on a farm in northeast Georgia. She was 16 when she came to Anderson in 1949 to obtain a nursing diploma.
“It was good to get out and meet people and to help people,” she said.
Most of her career was spent as an operating-room nursing supervisor. She enjoyed seeing how surgeries could help people suffering from broken bones or cancer.
She witnessed miracles of modern medicine and determination of the human spirit.
“In a few weeks the bone would heal, or the insides would be healed, and they could get up and go about their business,” Whitt said. “That made a big impression on me.”
Lynne McCarragher serves as charge nurse in Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit
McCarragher cares for people with head injuries as a charge nurse in AnMed’s Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit.
“It is real intense,” she said. “It can change every minute, every hour, and you have to be on your toes. I like that. I like an adrenaline rush.”
McCarragher recalled the gratitude recently expressed by the family of a 20-year-old who was admitted recently with brain swelling. Step by step, with orders, instructions and resolution, the young woman mounted recovery.
“She almost died,” McCarragher said. “And now she is walking up and down the hall.”
Ann Bolt serves as charge nurse at Maternity Center
Bolt is a charge nurse in the Maternity Center’s nursery, where her patients include babies born several months prematurely.
She said the most rewarding aspect of her job is witnessing and helping those babies’ development.
“Seeing a baby go through the process up until going home with the parents, and seeing how the parents learn to take care of a baby that is a little bit early – that means something to me,” Bolt said.
AnMed’s Maternity Center moved last year from the health system’s North Campus to the Medical Center in Anderson. Bolt said one benefit of the move is that the Maternity Center now has some of the latest and best medical equipment. It also consolidated all of AnMed’s inpatient acute-care services into one location.
More than 800 babies were delivered between the move in May of 2023 and the start of 2024. More will come this year.
And the Whitt-McCarragher-Bolt family influence will further grow. Bolt has a daughter who is a nurse at a doctor’s office in Greenville. McCarragher has a son who worked as an AnMed nurse for 12 years and is now a palliative-care director in Virginia. McCarragher’s husband was a billing specialist at AnMed for 19 years, and her brother-in-law was a longtime anesthesiologist at the hospital.
Positive culture contributes to loyalty at AnMed
Whitt, McCarragher and Bolt credit a positive culture at AnMed as a key reason for the longevity in their careers.
“I love the way we were treated, the way we are treated, and we’ve always tried to treat others right,” Whitt said. “As nurses, we are friendly. We want to help you.”
McCarragher cited collaboration between physicians and the nursing staff at AnMed.
“I think that has made me stay here all of these years,” she said. “People want to do what is best for your patients and their families.”
Bolt expressed appreciation for AnMed as a place where staff members “try to hold each other up and want the best for each other and the best for AnMed, too.”
All three of the ladies deserve credit for touching countless lives while reaching across different services provided at AnMed, said Nedra Brown, assistant vice president for patient care.
“The three of them are a testament to stellar care,” Brown said. “One thing that AnMed has that other facilities do not is tenure and legacy with loyalty for great care to this community – and they are prime examples.”