Helping People Heal

Robin-JohnsonHello, my name is Robin (Bewley) Johnson, and I teach Yoga for Hope, Peace, and Cancer Recovery and am also a Healing Touch practitioner for the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support. Professionally, I’m a Health Educator who worked at Athens Regional my whole career.

Yoga offers so much to people all along their journey with cancer and after. Moving the body in gentle ways with the breath allows participants to keep or regain their strength, loosen sore or tight muscles, and buffer many of the side effects that treatment can cause. When I’ve asked classes what benefits them most, the breathing practices are mentioned most often. They help folks relax, fall back asleep, and concentrate.

The group itself is a gift to participants; they encourage and support each other. We have one participant who is a nine-year survivor and another who is close to 90 years old. This is very encouraging for many people.

Healing Touch clients come for relaxation, pain relief, management of side effects,
sleep difficulties, grief, and other problems. It is an opportunity to let someone help as you rest. In some ways, what I do with Healing Touch is a contrast to the yoga. Folks in yoga are at a place where they can participate—both physically and emotionally.

Healing Touch is available for those who may not be ready for groups or for physical
exertion. While there are certainly folks who use both yoga and Healing Touch, sometimes a group seems too much, or there is too much pain or fatigue.

As a lifelong educator, I love to help people grow, assist them to see inner resources
they might not be aware of and to become stronger. It is a privilege to be a resource for reducing pain and anxiety, and if necessary, to stand with someone who is facing the end of life. I am honored to do the work I do.

For More Information

If you would like to learn more about the free support programs available to you at the Loran Smith Center for Classic Support, read our programs and classes information.

“Ben serves as a living example of dedication and commitment to true patient advocacy.”

Congratulations to Ben Hemphill, RN, on being selected as the Rising Star Award winner! Ben is a registered nurse in the Emergency Department.

Comments from his nomination:

This nominee shows great concern for the welfare of others and is actively involved in finding solutions to difficult challenges. Ben provides excellent care to his patients, often going the extra step to make sure the patients and family members are comfortable and secure. His work ethic is an example of the mission statement of our facility, “To improve the lives and health of those we touch.”

Ben is highly respected by his peers and appreciated by his patients because of the way he treats others. The nominee adapts his plan of care to include and meet the age-specific and cultural needs of his patients. He is seen as a very positive person of the team and exhibits a “win-win” philosophy. Ben is efficient and thorough in his work and finishes the job in a timely manner. The combination of his high ethical standards and experience enable him to be an excellent mentor to other employees. He is highly respected and is an exemplary role model to others in the Emergency Department, as well as the hospital.

Ben serves as a living example of dedication and commitment to true patient advocacy. His leadership, knowledge, family centered approach, and innovation, have shaped and impacted numerous nurses, patients, families, and the department as a whole. He serves as an important reminder that patient care is about putting people first.

In our department, we commonly treat patients who are fearful and at risk of losing their health, possibly their lives, and concurrently, those visitors with them may be at risk of losing precious loved ones. They are not in control and are frightened, and they need us for support. Ben shows the true compassion needed to care for his patients. He is empathetic and always makes a concerted effort to listen to his patients, to put himself in their place, and to attempt to understand their challenges. Ben has an uncanny ability of doing all of this without judgment and with the understanding that everyone has their own set of values and their own life experiences that has brought them to this point.

I cannot think of another person who is more deserving of the Rising Star award, because simply put- this nominee is an extraordinary nurse.


About the Rising Star Award:
The Rising Star Award is presented to an RN or LPN who graduated from an education program leading to initial entry-to-practice within the past two years. The nominee has exceeded the expectations of the nominee’s colleagues and shows promise to become an exceptional member of the profession.  The Awards Selection Committee will look for specific examples of how the nominee:

  1. Contributes to the Registered Nursing Profession in the areas of clinical practice or service
  2. Demonstrates awareness of the importance of meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families
  3. Provides nursing care that is caring, respectful and sensitive to each patient, family member and coworker
  4. Demonstrates a positive team attitude

“We felt like we were the only patient and family she had.”

Congratulations to Krystal Noggle on being awarded the 2016 J. Martin Sparks Award for Bedside Nursing. One of her nominators shared this about Krystal:

Where can I start? My husband spent the last week of his life in the ICU here. Krystal was his nurse for the last three days he was alive. I could not ask for anyone to more gentle and caring, not only with him, but also to me and our family that came in from out of town. She took time to answer our questions, never made us feel like we were wasting her time … we felt like we were the only patient and family she had. The day that he passed away is a day I will always remember, along with Krystal’s kindness, compassion, and caring. She made sure that we had enough seating in the waiting room, coffee, water, and would check on the family and friends that had gathered to see if there was anything else we needed. Her care after was great as well. She let me cry on her shoulder. She sees me in the cafeteria and makes it a point to come over and see how I’m doing and always says, “If you need anything let me know.”

Krystal is a prime example of care and compassion. She not only made sure her patient was taken care of, but also those left behind. I am proud to say that I work with someone that shows such qualities and concern for others.

Sparks Award


About the J. Martin Sparks Award for Bedside Nursing Excellence:
Nominees will have demonstrated excellence in at least one of the following: critical thinking skills, professional judgment, autonomy in practice, compassion. Nomination will be based on previous 12 months of practice and unit director will verify nominee is in good standing (i.e., attendance & job appraisal). Bedside nurse is defined at a registered nurse who is employed full or part time with a minimum of 24 hours scheduled per week at the bedside, and who is counted in staffing, providing direct, hands-on patient care.

Thank You for Your Service!

Athens Regional Health System creates wonderful teams who work together to improve the lives and health of those we touch.

As a thank you to our great employees and volunteers who’ve spent years helping Athens Regional and the community, we’re proud to honor them with a service awards banquet. Employees with 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, 30 and 35 years are recognized. They are people who’ve shown dedication, commitment, passion and caring for our guests, patients and co-workers.

Athens Regional is a place where we are taught to BE BOLD, SPEAK UP, BE ACCOUNTABLE, BUILD TRUST, REACH OUT and to GROW TALENT. Our culture defines us. Employees embracing the culture, investing in the culture and looking for ways to strengthen our culture is what sets our system apart.

Telling the Athens Regional story is easy. It’s the tale of the employee who’s been with us for 40+ years. It’s the story of the nurse who began a career as a nursing student and now serves as an educator, a mentor and an example to other young nursing students. The story of Athens Regional is told by the face of the Dietary employee who works in management after 30 years of front line service. There are stories of directors who began as technicians or secretaries, managers who worked part-time in entry level positions while going to school, housekeepers who have proudly cared for the facility and the people for more than 30 years. These are our stories. This is who we are.


Thank you to our 10 year employees.


We appreciate your 15 years of service!


Your commitment of 20 years is appreciated!


Thank you for 25 years of service!


Your commitment of 30 years is appreciated.


It’s an honor you’ve chosen Athens Regional for more than 35 years!


Volunteers, we are humbled by the thousands of hours you’ve given to our system.

Exercise & Diabetes

Regular exercise is good for everyone, especially for people with diabetes. Our Diabetes Education team says it can:

  • Lower blood glucose levels
  • Reduce the need for insulin
  • Protect against heart disease and stroke
  • Aid in weight management
  • Strengthen bones and tone muscles
  • Increase energy and relieve stress
  • Improve how you look and feel

Physical activity doesn’t have to be the usual cardio and weights. You can come up with fun or different ways to get some of your daily activity such as:


  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park farther away from entrances.
  • Walk the dog around your neighborhood (at a brisk pace).
  • Try playing golf, bowling or dancing.
  • Get up during commercials and do jumping jacks or some sort of exercise.
  • Yard work such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or gardening.


  • Drink plenty of water
  • 1 to 3 hours after meals is the best time to exercise
  • Keep a fast-acting sugar on hand
  • Check your blood sugar before exercise
  • Check your blood sugar after you stop exercising
  • Wear comfortable shoes

Recommendations for Exercise

  • At least 30 minutes per day of physical activity which can be broken down into 3 sets of 10 minute “exercise snacks” during the day.
  • Some exercises include: walking, swimming, bicycling, rowing, chair exercises, arm exercises, or playing a sport you enjoy.
  • Do activities that use large muscle groups.
  • Exercise 3 – 7 days per week.
  • Aim for a total of 150 minutes per week of activity.
  • Exercise at moderate intensity which means it would feel somewhat hard, breathing would be quick but not out of breath, you would have light sweating, and could talk normally but wouldn’t be able to sing.
  • When progressing your activity, increase either duration OR intensity.

Contact Athens Regional Diabetes Education Services

Whether you’ve had diabetes for years or are newly diagnosed, we have a team at Athens Regional ready to help guide you and your family. You can reach our Diabetes Education Services at 706-475-5600.




Gift Bags for Sweet Patients


Patient Alexis Smith shows off new Panda along with a coloring book and other goodies in a fun “Frozen” bag from sweet donors at Zaxby’s Operations Corporate Office.

Joy Hilley and Derekia Laturell delivered the gift bags from Zaxby’s. Each bag offered fun items to help make a stay in our Pediatrics Unit a little brighter!


Wish List for Peds

If you would like to raise the spirits of a child in our Pediatrics Unit, consider the following well-loved items:

  • Infants/Toddlers:  Rattles, Baby Teethers, Board Books
  • Young Children: New Stuffed AnimalsColoring Books, Crayons, Washable Markers, Paint Brushes, Washable Paints/Watercolors, Easel Paper, Construction Paper, Stickers, Chenille Stems, Pin Wheels
  • Tweens: Lego Kits, Puzzles, Crosswords, Mazes, Word Finds, Colored Pens & Pencils, Dominoes, Card Games, Checkers, Stickers

For more information on giving to Peds, contact Laura Lowery with our Foundation team at

Kangaroo Care Kindness

Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will now be able to help more parents enjoy important bonding time with their babies thanks to Lukas’ Fund.

A generous $13,237 donation from Lukas’ Fund will help us purchase four additional Kangaroo Chairs for our NICU. The gift of these special reclining chairs is very important. It helps the NICU staff provide the optimal environment for parents to bond with their fragile newborn while in the ICU. It’s called “Kangaroo Care.”


More About Lukas’ Fund

Lukas’ Fund was founded by Mark Ebell and Laura Bierema in memory of their son Lukas. The mission of the organization is to improve the outcomes and experiences of infants and their parents in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, working primarily with ARMC and Grady Hospital in Atlanta. To date, and with the support of many volunteers and donors, Lukas’ Fund has raised more than $300,000 to support the two NICUs.

ARMC thanks Lukas’ Fund for their ongoing support!

To make a donation to Lukas’ Fund or learn more about the organization and how to help, visit