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  Betty Wagner

Betty Retires ~
A Look Back at Her Career

After 37 years, Betty (Griffith) Wagner is looking forward to retirement. Her friends and co-workers in the Family Birth Suites have planned a retirement reception for her on Monday, August 3rd from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Family Birth Suites Classroom. Everyone is welcome to drop in and wish Betty a HAPPY RETIREMENT.

Betty began working at PRMC in 1978,  “We were ‘Pratt County Hospital’ run by the Sisters of St Joseph. We worked 8 hour shifts, and 2 out of 3 weekends. We wore white uniforms and caps. Nurse aides wore aqua  uniforms. Patients sometimes came in for ‘tests’. At times, we had over 100 patients in the hospital. The overflow were in the halls with a commode and screens around them. We got our little boxes of meds out of a ‘Brewer’ machine. Set them up on a tray, in med cups, in front of a card with patient’s name and room number on it, then headed down the hall to pass them.  We wrote all the patient's information on each page of the chart by hand. Charting was a few paragraphs per shift. There were no IV machines. We put tape down the bag and marked where the fluid level should be at what time. Then, we checked them every hour, counting the drops per minute, and adjusted accordingly.”    

Changing jobs was not something Betty thought about often. “It wasn't unusual for people to work at the same place their whole career back then. Although, I did apply for a couple of positions elsewhere, during periods of burnout, I'm glad I stayed here.”

As the years passed, healthcare continued to change. “The biggest changes have been technology, sicker patients, more government regulation, and 12 hour shifts.” Betty believes what has remained the same is that nurses still want what's best for their patients. “They are still trying to balance their families and work.

Several of her favorite memories include, “Marie McGuire and I in matching maternity uniforms in 1983 working 3rd floor plus OB with 2-3 good nurse aids. How excited and anxious we were moving into the new Family Birth Suites unit. The ‘Old Hat & Tea Party’ we enjoyed one fall, and the miracle of each new birth.”

Not only has Betty been blessed with a great career, her family has been her biggest blessing. “My (first husband) Kent lost a 2½ yr battle with multiple myeloma. I'll always be thankful for my nursing knowledge as I cared for him during that time. My children: Tammy (Doug) Rupe, Tim (Mona), Todd (Angie), Travis Tobin, Dewy and Cherry Griffith. And those beautiful grandchildren!  I am now married to Bruce Wagner (former PRMC employee). Thankful to my Lord, for the love and joy that Bruce has brought into my life. I will miss working and those great friends in Family Birth Suites. Take care of each other. You are in my thoughts and prayers.”

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