presented longevity award
Last month Marilyn Becker, RN, was honored at the SMH Longevity Awards ceremony for her 45 years of service to St. Mary’s Hospital. When she first began her employment in 1964 the hospital was located in the older building which consisted of a stucco three story facility built on to a house formerly used by the Benedictine sisters at St. Gertrude’s Monastery.
“We were so grateful to move to the new hospital in 1965. It had piped in Oxygen which meant we didn’t have to lug the huge canisters from room to room,” said Marilyn. “It was also nice to have all the services, OB, ER, and surgery, on one floor because in the older building they were located on the third floor which meant a lot of stair climbing and elevator use.”
According to Marilyn, the other big changes she’s seen over the years include the introduction of computers, the way meds are administered, respiratory therapy options and increased access to specialists.
“Computers have really changed how we do things. Thanks goes to our unit secretaries for their patience in teaching me,” laughed Marilyn. “ We also used to deliver some meds intramuscularly which meant the patients went home sore, but now many drugs are delivered intravenously. IVs make it a lot easier and less painful. There is also a huge array of drugs available now. When I started working as a nurse there were just a few and now there are hundreds.”
Becker also said having a Respiratory Therapist on staff and having specialists readily available have really made a big difference in patient care. “We used to keep our cardiac patients and now they are sent to Spokane where they are closer to specialists. The nurses used to do the respiratory treatments, but it’s nice to have a trained respiratory therapist available to provide that aspect of a patient’s care.”
Increased paperwork is another change Becker cites between 1964 and now.
“We certainly appreciate having Marilyn on staff. She is a dedicated and loyal employee who has always had the patients’ best interest at heart and it shows in her work. Her attitude is always positive and, through the years, I’ve only heard good things about her,” said Casey Meza, CEO. “As far as I’m concerned she is welcome to stay another 45 years.”
Iris Hawley, Director of Nursing Services, also praises Marilyn. “She is the most caring, conscientious nurse I have ever known. In her remarkable career she has provided care for patients of all ages and stages in life from newborns to the elderly. Some were family and others friends. As a nurse working in a rural environment she has done it all: OB, ER, OR, ICU and Long-Term Care. She has a broad range of knowledge and skills. Marilyn is a great leader and a wonderful teacher. She will always go the extra mile and has a great smile. We are privileged to work with her.”
Becker has no current plans on retiring, but says she just loves to travel. “Wherever there’s a place to travel, I’m willing to go,” joked Marilyn who recently traveled to Italy and to Oklahoma to visit relatives. When not working or traveling she likes to work in her flower beds and spend time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, raised six children. He has been deceased for 11 years. Three of the children live locally, two in the Lewiston/Clarkston area and one is in Washington. They have gifted her with 19 grandchildren.
“I’ve stayed at St. Mary’s all these years because, although I’ve worked every shift imaginable, it has always been with the best possible people,” said Marilyn. “The thing that stands out about working at SMH is the good interaction between employees. They make it a very pleasant place to work.”