More than 40 retired nurses, representing more than 1,000 years of service to the hospital, gathered recently to celebrate Akron Children’s Hospital’s 125 years of caring.
There were some big moments of reflection and celebration during the luncheon. Even those no longer with us were recognized for their services and kept in thought, such as Bonnie Leighley, who sadly passed away last year with 50 years of service.
During our time together, Akron Children’s Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Aurilio announced that a statue honoring nurses would be erected next year, out of respect for the contributions of our profession. Additionally, each nurse in attendance received a blue commemorative book, “125 Years from A to Z.”
The book highlighted many milestones of the hospital by letter, some of which really stood out, such as “J” is for Journey. We have had an amazing journey watching our hospital evolve, as it used to be one building with multiple bed wards, where families were not encouraged to stay. If they needed to stay they were relegated to smoke-filled lounges, which had no place for privacy.
Nurses helped start the evolution of family-centered care, with families forming a strong “T” for Team. The hospital has made teams of multidisciplinary staff members to deliver care in bright and comfortable surroundings.
We reminisced joyfully about the “M” for Magic–the magic of modern day medicines and vaccines that prevented horrible diseases we once tried to manage as well as untreatable conditions, which have been cured by cutting-edge surgeries (pun intended!). We also marveled about chemotherapies and medications such as insulin, which improved both quality and quantity of life.
Yes, “L” is for Life! Each nurse has had very specific patients whose families have touched our own lives in an enormous way, and it has made us thankful for our chosen profession.
We remember many “Ds” for the Doggies who started visiting the hospital in 1992, and we remember Petie the Pony, who represents the “P.” We remembered the first time we saw him in 1997, when many of us thought we were seeing things! I’m sure he won’t mind if he shares “P” with us…to stand for Pride. We continue to be overwhelmingly proud of our Children’s Hospital– yesterday, today and tomorrow!