Longtime employee has grown with the hospital
Thursday, January 31, 2013
By Meg Heaton
Kathy O’Brien’s first day as an employee of Hudson Hospital was Nov. 10, 1975, the day the Edmund Fitzgerald sank. There is only one other employee who has worked there longer and only by a year.
O’Brien’s daughter was a year old when she was ready to go back to work but she didn’t want to commute into St. Paul. “I decided working at the community hospital would be more interesting and meaningful. And my neighbor worked there and recommended the position.”
Back then O’Brien was known as a “white house” employee. The hospital, then located on Wisconsin Street near Prospect Park, was out of space, and the administrative and business offices were located in a two-story white house adjacent to the hospital. She is the last of the employees who worked there to still be on staff.
Over her 37 years with the hospital, O’Brien has done many jobs working in personnel, with the medical staff, as executive assistant to both the hospital administrator and assistant administrator as well as providing support for the hospital board of directors and the hospital foundation board. Today she is the medical staff coordinator and Life Assist Program coordinator.
She said she doesn’t have a favorite among the many jobs she has held over the years. “All of my experiences here has been good. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many dedicated people from doctors and the medical staff to board members and volunteers. It has been a wonderful experience.”
During her tenure, O’Brien has worked with three of the five administrators in the hospital’s 60 year history.
Among the things she is proudest of, however, is the new hospital and health campus, specifically the move from the old facility. “The effort that went into building this was tremendous. I am still amazed on how we moved an entire hospital in June 2003.”
O’Brien has seen a lot of changes over the years, not the least of which has been the impact of technology on almost every hospital job. “Back when I started I was thrilled to have a self-correcting typewriter. But it has been fun to learn to do things in a new and better way.”
When she came to Hudson Hospital there were 30 on the medical staff. Today there are some 300. She believes that while the hospital has evolved with new technology and new methods of care and treatment, they have stayed true to their mission of caring for the health of the community.
“A stay in the hospital may be shorter but there is more service in more specialty areas. And everyone continues to focus on safe, quality patient care.”
O’Brien said it has been exciting to see the progress and growth of Hudson Hospital and Clinic. From her mother to her grandchildren, she has seen the people she works with provide “exceptional care in a healing environment.” She describes it as a team effort to improve the community’s health, deliver a good experience and make health care more affordable.
“I’m very proud of Hudson Hospital and Clinic and I’m proud to be an employee.“