140 years of caring

BARRINGTON - Three nurses with a combined 140 years of caring are retiring at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington.

Patty Holmes of Cary has 44 years of nursing experience, the last 25 years at Good Shepherd. Mary Brawley of Sleepy Hollow has been a nurse for 46 years, 29 at Good Shepherd, and Vilai Vinaiwat of Cary has been a nurse for 50 years, 30 at Good Shepherd.

Judy Pietsch, director of women's and infant services at Good Shepherd, hired all of them.

"Because Good Shepherd is such a special place, people stay," Pietsch said at a reception in the nurses' honor Tuesday evening at the hospital. "It's a very caring hospital, and these are very caring nurses. And when they find a spot that is the right spot for them, they stay."

Pietsch said she will miss the three nurses. "I'll miss the smiles they come in with every day. And I always know the patients they care for will get the best care possible. They're so dedicated and committed."

Holmes is a special-care nurse. The babies she cares for can be very sick.

"Some babies have everything wrong with them, from their brains to their toes," Holmes said.

"I will miss the babies. When they look at you – even though they're itty-bitty 2-pound babies – there is just a thing that happens between you. Your heart just melts into those babies. And I will really miss that.

"You look at them, and you just want them to get well," Holmes said. "And when you see them start to get better, it's the best thing about it. It's just wonderful."

Holmes would recommend a nursing career to anyone looking for a rewarding challenge. "There will always be bodies that need your help. I doesn't matter what the stock market does, you always need a nurse."

Brawley, a labor and delivery nurse, said she's had many cases where she's helped deliver the mom, and years later the child. "I used to deliver my friends' babies, and now I deliver my kids' friends' babies."

"This is my family," Brawley said of her co-workers. "These girls are all my sisters and I love them."

"It's like a sorority – and we get paid for it," Brawley said. "I get paid to watch miracles."

Suzanne Rindfleisch of Cary, a labor and delivery nurse, said Brawley is known as "Mother Mary. She's everybody's mom, even though she's not old enough. She's a mentor to everyone."

Vinaiwat, originally from Thailand, is a post-partum nurse. "I take care of the mother and baby. I love it," she said.

"You come to work and take care of mom, and take care of the baby," Vinaiwat said. "Then you see the mom happy, you're happy, too. I love the bedside care," she said.

"I will miss my co-workers. We have a good group."

"It's a good career," Vinaiwat added. "The hours are flexible and wherever you go you can find a job.

"I worked to support my family up until now, so it's a good job."

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