Fifty years ago, Frances Scott drove her Plymouth Cricket to work in downtown Charleston at the old St. Francis Hospital where she reported to Miss Renaultie and spent her days bathing, shaving and dressing patients.
Little did she know in her early days as a nursing assistant she would spend an entire career serving patients at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, diligently ensuring their dignity and wellbeing during their time of healing.
“I enjoyed doing what I was doing and I still enjoy doing it,” said 79-year-old Ms. Scott. “St. Francis has always been like a family from the day I came here until this day right now. It’s always been one family. I never thought about going any place else. This was like home.”
On Monday, Ms Scott’s loved ones, as well as fellow teammates and physicians from the past and present, gathered in the Mall Classrooms at the current Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital to celebrate her half a century of service to patients. (Read The Post and Courier’s coverage of the party here.)
Her two sons thanked her colleagues for eagerly taking their “mamma” on as second family. And that word “family” was used a lot when describing the culture at BSSF.
“Fifty years of care and love my mom has given to this organization, that’s secondary to the 50 years of love and care she has given to the patients who come through these doors,” said her oldest son, U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Ben Scott. “Thank you for showing my mamma love.”
Her youngest son, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, spoke about calling the hospital every day to check on his mom, often chatting with one of her colleagues and learning about their lives, their relationship with his mom and why the hospital is so important.
“I can’t think of anything that we all yearn for more than purpose,” Sen. Scott said. “When you find your purpose and you are blessed with the opportunity to do your purpose for 50 years at the same place, and as a Christian and to do it in a place where faith is the fabric of where she serves, it is a blessing.”
Through the decades as a nursing assistant, Ms. Scott — affectionately known among her family, friends and colleagues as “Scottie” — raised her two sons as a single mom, instilling in them a strong faith, work ethic and commitment to serve others. In recent years, Ms. Scott has invested time in her new non-profit foundation, Raising up the Lowcountry, where she helps single mothers with personal development initiatives that help them learn good financial habits, set goals and raise positive children in a negative world.
“I love taking care of people,” she said. “That’s why I love my foundation. I get to help the moms.”
Dr. Jeffrey DiLisi, president and CEO of RSFH, said he was honored to go to Ms. Scott’s Foundation and looked forward to future support. He then announced that her photo and story will be added to the celebration wall in the atrium of BSSF, along with other teammates who have served 50 or more years at RSFH.
“Our mission is ‘healing all people with compassion, faith and excellence’ and there has been no one who has been a better advocate of that than you,” Dr. DiLisi said. “You can work here as long as you want. You are forever a part of the Roper St. Francis family.”
What they said
Dr. Mitch Siegan, vice president & chief medical officer – acute care:
“That’s what defines success: it’s joy in work. You gave us all joy in work and you have joy in work. That’s what makes you so special and that’s what makes this place so special. And for all of that we are incredibly grateful for the time we have with you.”
Marissa Jamarik, senior vice president & chief nursing officer
“I found a definition that culture is learned through interaction among a group of people or from one generation to the next. How fortunate are we to have someone like you.”
Pennie Peralta, former vice president and chief nursing officer who served patients for 43 years at RSFH
“As you see her today is the way she has always been with that smile on her face. She is that ultimate teammate that no matter what was the task at hand, she was always willing to help. She would never once utter ‘well that’s not my job.’ Not one day have I ever seen her not with a smile on her face. It’s a beautiful testament to the person you are.”
Dr. Brian Cuddy, neurosurgeon with Roper St. Francis Physician Partners Neurosurgery & Spine and the chairman of the Roper St. Francis Healthcare Board of Directors:
“When she’s with the patients checking in, going in for major surgeries, obviously they are very anxious, and she immediately communicates: ‘I care about you, you are important to me.’ I think that’s ultimately what Roper St. Francis is. Not only have you been an example for your children, you have been an example for all of us as well.”
Dr. Jeffrey DiLisi, president and CEO of RSFH:
“Thank you so much for all that you do, not just for our organization but for the patients of the Lowcountry because that’s who we are all here for.”
Command Sergeant Major Ben Scott, her oldest son:
“Fifty years – that’s a long time. It speaks a lot of the hospital as well because we vote with our feet on where we want to stay. The docs, you people are important, but at the end of the day, when the patient goes on to the next life, who’s holding that hand? It’s that nurse. Who is comforting you before you go in there to get cut on? It’s that nurse. When another nurse is having a bad day and things aren’t going well or they have lost their patient, who is there for you? It’s that nurse. “
Sen. Tim Scott, her youngest son:
“The power of giving is far more satisfying than receiving. So thank you all for your giving your love. Thank you all for giving your happiness and joy, and thank you all for investing in the most important person in my life, my mamma.”
“Looking around this room and I am so grateful to God for what I see. St. Francis is family. I’ve seen a lot and I have taken care of a lot of patients. Even though I’m not a registered nurse, I take care of patients which I truly, truly love. It’s my heart. I love taking care of people.”