- Associated Press - Thursday, July 27, 2017

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) - When Nancy Pitcock began working at St. John’s Hickey Memorial Hospital in college, she wasn’t expecting to work there for the rest of her career.

She really didn’t expect to hold the positions of vice president and chief nursing officer at the hospital, now St. Vincent Anderson, when she retired 46 years later.

In her last week, Pitcock has looked through old photographs that her assistant has put aside, but she said she’s gotten more sentimental just looking at prayers people have given her over the past decades.

“It just warms your heart,” she said.

Pitcock began her work at St. John’s in 1971 when she was required to do rounds in an operating room while working on her nurse diploma. At that time, the hospital did not yet have an intensive care unit, so students making rounds would sit with critical care patients one on one.

About two years later, she officially started her work at the Anderson hospital as a nurse.

She spent much of her career working in the Emergency Department, first as a nurse and later as the manager of the department for four years.

Pitcock said when she was a young nurse, the thrill of working in the busy emergency room drew her, and that passion grew and stayed strong as she continued through her career.

“I like the fast pace (and) quick thinking,” she said. “All nurses are able to use all of their skills, just in a different way. Quick review, quick assessment, make a decision; I really liked that.”

Mike Schroyer, president of the St. Vincent Northeast Region, said Pitcock has had a great impact on the emergency department over the years, which is now a point of pride for the hospital.

She also worked as a hospice nurse for six years, helping learn and build the then-new hospice program from the ground up.

The days of working nights in both the emergency department and in hospice care are the ones she thinks fondly of now. While the work was challenging, working with the patients was quite rewarding, she said.

Schroyer said in a letter to associates of the St. Vincent Northeast Region that Pitcock’s accomplishments stack up over her time at St. Vincent Anderson.

“It’s difficult to summarize the impact Nancy’s life has had on our organization for over four decades,” he said. “With every decision she has made, every program she has implemented and every associate she has hired, she has strived to do what is best for the patients we serve.”

Pitcock has worked in every department at St. Vincent Anderson as a nurse. During her career, she’s also been able to obtain two additional degrees - a Bachelor of Social Work from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and a Master of Science in Nursing from Ball State University.

One of the biggest changes in the hospital Pitcock said she has noticed is the growth of technology. When she began in the field, all charts were kept on paper records.

Pitcock only had a landline phone in her office when she became the manager of the ER. Now, like most professionals, she has a cellphone on her at almost all times.

She said it will be a different feeling to not being “on” all the time once she retires Thursday and clears her calendar and email from her smartphone.

While she thinks she will eventually volunteer at the hospital in some capacity, she’s looking forward to traveling even more with her husband, Jerry Pitcock.

“I want to try not having a plan for a month,” she said.

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Source: The (Anderson) Herald-Bulletin, https://bit.ly/2v0k7W7

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Information from: The Herald Bulletin, https://www.theheraldbulletin.com

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