Staff profile: 49 years of compassion

At just 21 years old, Bertha Butler knew she wanted to be a nurse. Bertha began her career as an LPN in 1974 and never looked back.

“Things looked quite different at the O’Leary hospital when I started,” she said. 

While the services may have changed at Community Hospital O’Leary, the quality of care hasn’t wavered. 

“Being able to provide care to patients and their families during difficult moments, providing whatever is necessary to make them comfortable and to feel cared for—that’s where I find joy.” 

Bertha remembers a time when her team at Community Hospital O’Leary helped a palliative patient get married. A smiling older woman in a jean jacket sits outside on a sunny day.

“Providing support and compassion are just part of the job,” she said.

That support and compassion extends to her colleagues and supervisors as well.

“It was an absolute pleasure to join Community Hospital O’Leary,” said Colleen Bannon, Bertha’s nurse manager. “All the staff was extremely welcoming. Bertha came into my office to have a quiet conversation about what would be helpful from a manager, asking that I be direct and honest with any plans for the unit. She regularly checks in with me to ask how I’m doing and wants to know if there is anything else she can do.”

About 15 years ago, Bertha felt it was time to try something new. She took a position outside of the hospital in primary care. And while she enjoyed the experience, she felt the community hospital call her back.

“I missed the bedside care that I previously provided,” she said. “I’m grateful for the experience, but I really felt it was time to come home to the Community Hospital to do what I love.”

Her experience and dedication are valuable to the team, according to Colleen.

“Whenever possible when we’re training new staff, I make sure they get some time with Bertha,” she said. “She somehow always looks calm, cool and collected despite a very busy shift. Her sense of teamwork is infectious.”

Her colleagues agree. Here are just a few things they said about her: 

“She is a great teacher.”
“Bertha goes above and beyond every day.”
“If I were in the hospital, she is the one I would want her looking after me”
“Fair and supportive.”
“Intelligent, organized and full of common sense.”
“Grace under pressure and never too busy to help.”

After a long career, retired five years ago. But not long after, she returned to work on a casual basis.

“I still have a passion for helping patients,” she said. “And there was a need for LPNs, especially with COVID-19, so I answered the call.”

Bertha turns 70 in August, and said it may soon be time, yet again, to step away.

“I see that my time to pass the torch fast approaching,” she said.

As she sees new LPNs stepping into the job she has loved for nearly five decades, she passes on her most valuable advice: “Don’t treat it like a job. To to work because you enjoy it, and try to enjoy it every day.”

Published date: 
June 22, 2023
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