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Winchester’s Retired Nurses Still “Got It”

While many shared stories about why they got into the field, WHAG's Merris Badcock reports why many of them still want to be involved.

WINCHESTER, Va. - In honor of National Nurses Week, Winchester Medical Center (WMC) honored their nurses.

"Because we're the most trusted profession in the United States, I feel very honored and very blessed to be apart of that profession," said Lisa Zerull, the Program Manager for Nursing Academics at WMC.

"All my other friends, they were going for the baby dolls and those kinds of things,” said Kathy Tagnesi, the retired Vice President of Nursing at WMC. “All I wanted a nurse kit, because I knew, way back then, that I was going to be a nurse."

Over 60 nurses attended the networking luncheon, which presented updates on Valley Health's nursing initiatives.

"We’re seeing continual changes,” said Zerull. “I've been a nurse for 30 years, and what I see are nurses working longer, into their 60s and even their 70s."

"When I first became a nurse, nothing was disposable,” laughed Barbara McWhinney, who has been a nurse at WMC for 47 years. “We had to re-sterilize everything."

Being surrounded by so many retired nurses evoked many memories for the lively group.

"When I was in the fourth grade, my mother was very ill,” said McWhinney. “I had to learn to give her shots with a glass syringe and a needle that we sharpened. I threw up, and though I couldn't do it,” she said with a smile. “But I did, and I knew from that day that I wanted to be a nurse"

"The first time I gave a bed bath to a patient, I thought I was Florence Nightingale reincarnated,” said Tagnesi. “I was just so happy."

Even after retirement, nurses still retain a valuable skill set. Aside from networking at the event, many discussed ways they could volunteer within their communities.

"How can retired nurses still give back to the community, still use all of these super talents, knowledge, experience that they have,” said Tagnesi.

"Today’s opportunity is designed to reconnect to nurses that have retired, and bring them back to Valley Health,” said Zerull.

If you’re a retired nurse, and want to get involved with volunteer opportunities, contact the Volunteer Services Office at Winchester Medical Center: (540) 536-8158.

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