Georgia Kelly Rising ’97 knew from a young age that she wanted to work as a nurse for the underserved. At 17, she began to work as a nurse’s aide at Swedish Medical Center and continued through nursing school until she finally became a medical ICU nurse at Denver Health after graduating college. The bulk of her experience is in intensive care and emergency services. She was a travel nurse living in Seattle, Alaska, Hawaii and Northern California and came back to Colorado in 2010, taking an assignment again at Denver Health within the critical care department. About five years ago, Georgia switched to working at a family health clinic as a charge nurse in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver. The historically Latino neighborhood is about 80% Hispanic and as of 2016, about a third of its population was below the poverty line. Once COVID hit, Denver Health, which owns the clinic, launched a “virtual hospital at home” service for all of its patients. Georgia works for the service once a week making calls to anywhere from 3 to 35 COVID patients several times a day. She not only helps them monitor their symptoms from home but also works with Project Angel Heart to deliver them meals. Denver Health started the virtual hospital program expecting a surge of COVID cases, but it is now a way for high-risk patients to get the care and access they need from home.
Growing up at St. Anne’s, Georgia says, helped to shape some of her decisions today. Her oldest daughter just started preschool at St. Anne’s, and she has a younger daughter at home. We are grateful Georgia is back at St. Anne’s, now as a parent and as a hero to us all.