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She found a job she liked and kept it, for 40 years

February 07, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

LEITERSBURG - A Franklin County, Pa., native, Sharon Gladfelter hadn't heard of Brook Lane when she graduated from the medical secretarial program at Hagerstown Business College in December 1964.

"One of my instructors told me about a job as secretary to the medical director there," Gladfelter said.

Just two weeks after graduation, Gladfelter started her new job. She marked 40 years there in December.

Now the director of health information services at Brook Lane Health Services, Gladfelter is the first employee ever to be with Brook Lane that long, according to Curt Miller, Brook Lane spokesman.

In addition to her primary title, Gladfelter also is in charge of medical records, risk management and serves as coordinator of performance improvement.

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"I keep the facility in shape for periodic accreditation surveys," she said.

A 1963 graduate of James Buchanan High School, Gladfelter, 59, said her original career plans were to work in a doctor's office. But the opportunity to join the staff at Brook Lane seemed like a good move, she said.

At that time, Brook Lane - which opened in 1949 - was a psychiatric hospital with 40 adult beds. There was an administration building and several farmhouses that had been put to a variety of uses, she said.

"At the beginning, I was in the administration building," Gladfelter said. "The doctors saw the patients, they dictated their reports to me and I put them in the records."

She quickly developed a system of what belonged on the charts, making sure it all stayed together and confidential. In 1968, she took over all the medical records duties after taking a correspondence course to get her medical records technician credentials.

When she came to Brook Lane, Gladfelter said many employees were actually volunteers.

"I also remember that in those early days, women employees weren't allowed to wear slacks," she said.

Now Gladfelter has 12 employees working with her in her department. Brook Lane has a total of 290 employees and has expanded into a large complex with services for adults, adolescents and children.

Married with one stepson, Gladfelter lives in Bino, Pa., where her parents also reside. She and her husband have a second home in Florida.

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