Hospital staff share memories

From retired to still working, from nurses to doctors, all sorts of hospital staff were on hand for the Rimbey Hospital Reunion at the Drop-In Centre on June 11.

By Adam Eisenbarth

From retired to still working, from nurses to doctors, all sorts of hospital staff were on hand for the Rimbey Hospital Reunion at the Drop-In Centre on June 11.

Everyone seemed to have at least one memory to share as the old friends visited throughout the afternoon.

Nina Becker was one of the organizers of the event and was happy to see such a success.

“We were tired of going to funerals to meet all our nursing buddies. (Irma Dous and I) were in Bentley doing foot care and we said, ‘We need to have a reunion.’ The day was planned, we never asked anyone what day, we just said June 11 and if you can be there, be there.”

About 100 people stopped in to enjoy a visit. Becker was pleased with the turnout.

“We asked a few people, they thought it was a wonderful idea and so it came to be. This is just from friends telling friends, telling friends.”

Many participants worked in a different era of the hospital, a time when staff had more time to give their patients some extra attention. While there was always work to be done, many say it was a lot of fun.

“Back when we were working then, it was wonderful. They don’t know today, the fun we had back then and we still did our own work. We were all assigned our people that we had to work for. We cared for them, we did our charts and we still had time to have fun,” said Becker who worked at the hospital from 1977 to 1989.

Working at the hospital certainly has changed, says Bruce Christensen, who was an LPN for 24 years.

“Nursing care isn’t what it used to be. I’m glad I got out when I did because there’s been so many changes and it’s gone to less hands on nursing care and more computers.”

Christensen believes the health care industry is much more stressful now and it’s not the same environment for patients either.

“You need to have that personal interaction with the patient but because of the shortness of staff you don’t get to do that anymore.”

For those who participated in the event, it was a treat to see some old faces.

“It’s very nice, I’ve seen a lot of people. I can remember faces but I can’t put names to them so I’m glad we have name tags,” said Marion Repas with a laugh.

Peggy Gibbons was one of many at the event with stories to tell.

“This poor fellow was hopping up and down,” she recalled. “He had a moth in his ear. So we just held the electrical light up to his ear and the moth came right out.”

Dianne Kenzle worked at the hospital from 1975 to 2008 and says it was that type of ingenuity that made nurses so talented.

“You had to be smart in every department because you had to deliver babies, you had to go in the OR, you had to work on the ward; now we’re all specialized. These girls had to know everything. They were very intelligent, and our doctors were excellent too.”

Organizers have not decided whether they will put together another reunion in the future, but most, if not all, seemed to be in favour of doing it again.