A part of lives for generations

October 15, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

Judy Miller and Penny Hill remember the "baby wagon," the cubbyholed stainless steel cart that transported several newborns from the nursery to their mothers' rooms in days gone by at Washington County Hospital.

Times have changed. Obstetrics has changed. Babies are born and room with their mothers in the Family Birthing Center.

There have been many other changes in the century since the hospital was chartered in April 1904.

Washington County Hospital will kick off its 100th anniversary Saturday, Oct. 16, at a Family Reunion Picnic on the grounds of Robinwood Medical Center, and there will be connections and memories aplenty.

A fun-filled afternoon - 1900s-style - is planned. There will be fried chicken, pulled pork and apple pie. There will be carnival games, sack races and prizes, and group photos of babies born at the hospital will be taken.

Following family

Registered nurses Judy Miller and Penny Hill both were born at Washington County Hospital.

Miller, now director of informatics, said she never wanted to be anything but a nurse. She remembers watching her mother, Doris Crumback, a 1946 graduate of the hospital's nursing school, get ready for work with a white uniform with a skirt - certainly not pants - white stockings, shoes and nurse's cap. Miller's grandmother, Mary Ohler, was a charter member of the hospital's women's auxiliary. Miller's daughter Stacy Stotler was born at Washington County Hospital, worked there during summers while she was in college and now is a life-skills therapist in the health system's Total Rehab Care. Stotler's husband and both her children also were born at the Hagerstown hospital, Miller said.

Hill, clinical director for outpatient care, also was born at Washington County Hospital. She started out studying art history in college before switching to nursing. She said she can't imagine doing anything else.

Hill also has many family connections to the hospital. Her children were born and worked there, her son's two sons were born at Washington County Hospital, and his wife is a physical therapy assistant in the health system's home health department. Hill has three nieces who are registered nurses at the local health-care facility.

Care evolves

Health care has changed in 100 years.

Hospital stays are 70 percent shorter. Knee replacements used to keep people in the hospital for three weeks. Now it's two to three days, Miller said.

Teaching the patient and the patient's family has become an even more important duty of the nurse. The family and patient need to provide more of the care.

"When my mother was a nurse, the nurse was boss," Miller said.

"It's a lot more collaborative than it used to be," Hill said.

Hill said she's always aware of the nurse's role as a patient advocate. A lot of the responsibility falls on the nurse.

"She still is the captain of the ship in coordinating care," Hill said.

The relationship between physicians and nurses has changed over the years.

"We're a team focused on the patient's needs," Miller said. "There truly is mutual respect."

Hill and Miller are looking forward to Saturday's reunion.

"This place truly does have a family spirit," Miller said.

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