Jane Conrad's Story
I was hired at GBMC, in August of 1965, as one of the nurses that would open the emergency room. My employee number is 0742. However, the emergency room could not be opened until the rest of the hospital was functioning properly.
There were four of us that were hired at that time. We went to each of the units and set them up, then the nurses for that unit would come in and the patients were seen the following day. I was the only one that stayed after a year. I loved what I was doing. I knew everyone in the hospital, and it was fun to go to work. There was a sense of family. We all were building a community in which we lived for forty hours a week. We really cared about each other. I actually got to drive the train that delivered the supplies and the food to the units. I thought the Hawk was easier to drive then the Eagle. Once the units were all set up I worked in the general clinic.
In 1967 we finally opened the Emergency Room. I was asked to be the supervisor, and I called it my first baby. I was on call 24/7! In 1970 I was married and moved to Bel Air. It was very difficult to live in Bel Air and maintain the availability my staff was accustomed to having. I stepped down in 1971. I tried to stay in the ER by working part-time. It was difficult, so in 1971, I decided to leave and went to another ER closer to my home part-time. It only took me six months and I was out of there! I was accustomed to a standard of care that we provided at GBMC, and I would not let patients leave until it was met. At this other medical facility, I was not very popular with the staff and the residents. However, administration came to me three times and asked me to accept the position of supervisor. I said no three times!
I had kept in touch with the manager of GBMC’s ER and clinic, and when she told me to “come home” and work in the clinic, I said yes. Then, in 1972, I became pregnant with my first child and moved into a non-benefitted position and to work when I was needed.
Since I was considered, at the time, to be an elderly “prime-met,” I just couldn’t wait the three days for the results of the pregnancy test. Day three was a Sunday and my 30th birthday. I called the lab which I knew I should not do because I knew no one was supposed to tell me. My luck, the supervisor answered and I had to “fess up” and tell him why I called. His answer was “Jane, you of all people know I cannot tell you, however the staff is singing a song. Can you hear?” In the background I could hear loud noises of the staff singing “The rabbit is dead, the rabbit is dead.” What a wonderful 30th birthday gift! Janel was born on May 7, 1973, and John was born on August 24, 1974.
In 1988, because of a divorce, I came back full-time to work in the General Clinic. We were just starting to do Oncology and there were five chairs in the room. Gary Cohen came on board on January, 1, 1990, and Judy Feeney and Pat Ash were the nurses. Jane Skillman was our Clinical Manager and kept sending me to work in the room because of my IV skills. I was reluctant at first because of my personal pain, but I was wrong! I found that when I walked into the room, it was all about the patient and I didn’t have time to think about me, not even for a second! I have worked in the Infusion Therapy Unit since 1990, Radiation Oncology for four years, then returned to the Infusion Center. Now that I am semi-retired, I work one to two days a week and I love it!
As GBMC grew, I felt for awhile that the “family feeling” that I talked about had been lost. I have found I was wrong! On May 26, 2015, my son’s sail boat was found going in circles with only his dog aboard. Unfortunately, my son’s body was found on May 30th. The love and support has been wonderful. THE FEELING OF FAMILY STILL EXISTS. The outpouring of love through hugs, smiles and tears has been so supporting, not to mention the generous amounts of food and donations given to keep my family going during this traumatic time.
The GBMC Cancer Center has showed me love, support and family through many things in the past 25 years. WE ARE STILL A FAMILY!!!