Salem, VA, May, 2014 – Caring for patients is more than a career for many LewisGale Regional Health System nurses, it’s a life passion. In celebration of Nurses’ Week from May 6 through 12, nurses from each of the LewisGale hospitals reflect on their more than 20 years of service and why they are still as passionate as ever about their jobs.

Denise Pollock, RN

Even after nearly 37 years working in the Maternity Care Center at LewisGale Medical Center, Denise Pollock, RN, still gets excited every time a baby is born.

“I can’t imagine having a more rewarding career,” she said. “I am one of the lucky ones who is given the opportunity to witness a miracle every day that I work.”

The Maternity Care Center has also taken on a new life over the years. Denise remembers a time when fathers weren’t allowed in the delivery room and everything was handwritten because computers didn’t exist. Nowadays the birthing experience is a family affair and bonding between mom, baby and family is encouraged from the moment of birth. Antiquated equipment and techniques have also been replaced by highly sophisticated and integrated computer systems, including a wireless fetal monitoring system that allows laboring patients to move about while the baby is monitored.

“All of these improvements have enabled us with the means to provide the highest and safest quality of care for our mom's and babies,” said Denise.

Sally Howard, RN

While Denise is busy caring for the youngest of patients, Sally Howard, RN, BSN, has found her passion in caring for the senior population as the Nursing Manager for Senior Transitions, a behavioral health unit at LewisGale Hospital Alleghany. After 28 years in the field, she has embraced many changes along the way as well.

“I must admit that I occasionally yearn for the days of a white, starched uniform and cap and giving the "traditional backrub" to all patients at bedtime,” said Sally.  “Life seemed simpler then. But I still love the fact that daily I can make a difference in someone’s life.”

Cynthia Sprague, RN, BSN, CEN

Cynthia Sprague, RN, BSN, CEN, a nurse at LewisGale Hospital Montgomery can relate.

“The technology is forever evolving,” she said. “I started out with one page paper charts that had all the physicians and nurses documentation to the electronic medical record we use today.”

Joyce Parsons, RN

Joyce Parsons, RN, a nurse at LewisGale Hospital Pulaski agrees that the biggest impact for her has also been the switch to computerized documentation.

But one thing has remained the same over the years for these nurses – their love for their patients.

“What I love most is the interaction with the patients,” said Joyce reflecting on her 24 years of service on the Medical Surgical Unit. “I enjoy seeing a smile on the patients face when you have relieved their pain. Nursing has given me some of the best memories to forever cherish.”  

“It is so rewarding to walk in the room and you hear ‘I'm so glad you are taking care of me’,” said Cynthia.