Rayford enjoys caring for others, staying busy

Published 11:18 am Monday, November 23, 2015

Giving time and energy to help those who need it is a calling, and Sally Rayford has turned her giving nature into a substantial career.

“It’s what I like to do, helping people, taking care of people,” Rayford said.

For 22 years, Rayford has worked at Camellia Home Health and Hospice and for the last 17 of those years she has pulled double duty by also working in the geropsych unit at Merit Heath River Region Medical Center.

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“I’ve been juggling the two for awhile,” Rayford said.

At both jobs, Rayford helps the elderly by assisting them with their baths, talking to them and feeding them.

In the homes with Camellia, she will often prepare light meals and do a little housekeeping.

Many of her patients at River Region have dementia or Alzheimer’s and in addition to those responsibilities she also helps them with their group time.

Sometimes she does assist younger people who have had a stroke or have cancer.

“When I see that I’ve done things for patients that can help them out with their sickness, it just does my heart good,” Rayford said.

One of her patients asks her everyday he sees her if she likes her job and why she wanted to do that type of work. Her response is simply that she does it because people need help, and she is here to help people do things they can’t do on their own.

“I really like helping people,” Rayford said. “I am compassionate about what I do. My patients and their families are first and foremost.”

Five days a week Rayford works for Camellia from 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then four days a week she drives over to River Region to work 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. The long hours suit her.

In April, Rayford was sick and had to take two weeks off work, but she did not enjoy slowing down. Even though the doctor told her not to do much of anything, she still did little things around the house because she was so used to being constantly on the move.

She became a little stir crazy with nothing to do for those 14 days.

“I was about to go crazy sitting at home,” Rayford said. “I’m so use to going and being busy.”

Rayford attended American College in Vicksburg to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, and she went to Hinds Community College for her national certification so she could work anywhere in the United States. She is also a certified phlebotomist, meaning she can draw blood, and she has taken a few other courses as well.

“At River Region, we are called patient care technicians, which they give their own class to certify you to do that,” Rayford said.

Currently, Rayford is taking pharmacy technician courses online to someday transfer from the geropsych unit to the pharmacy at River Region, while still working at Camellia. She hopes to retire at Camellia.

In her little spare time, Rayford likes to attend Alcorn State University football games, where all of her children attended or are currently attending college. She even enjoys catering events when she can find the time.

Rayford has a husband, Charles Rayford; two daughters, Nioshae Anderson and Shantel Rayford; one son, Charles Rayford II; and one granddaughter, Tamya Hackett.